To retrospectively examine the barriers faced and opportunities for improvement during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic response experienced by participants responsible for the delivery of health care services in 3 remote and isolated Subarctic First Nation communities of northern Ontario, Canada.
A qualitative community-based participatory approach.
Semi-directed interviews were conducted with adult key informants (n=13) using purposive sampling of participants representing the 3 main sectors responsible for health care services (i.e., federal health centres, provincial hospitals and Band Councils). Data were manually transcribed and coded using deductive and inductive thematic analysis.
Primary barriers reported were issues with overcrowding in houses, insufficient human resources and inadequate community awareness. Main areas for improvement included increasing human resources (i.e., nurses and trained health care professionals), funding for supplies and general community awareness regarding disease processes and prevention.
Government bodies should consider focusing efforts to provide more support in terms of human resources, monies and education. In addition, various government organizations should collaborate to improve housing conditions and timely access to resources. These recommendations should be addressed in future pandemic plans, so that remote western James Bay First Nation communities of Subarctic Ontario and other similar communities can be better prepared for the next public health emergency.
In recent years, a focus on workers' ability, rather than impairment, has guided disability management services. However, a challenge with the notion of 'ability' is identification of the border between ability and inability. This article considers this gray zone of disability management in the case of a workers' compensation vocational retraining program for injured workers in Ontario.
In-depth interviews and focus groups were conducted with a purposive sample of 71 participants who were directly involved with the vocational retraining process. Workers in the program had on average incurred injury 3 years earlier. Procedural and legal documents were also analyzed. Principles of grounded theory and discourse analysis guided the data gathering and analysis.
A program focus on worker abilities did not allow for consideration of unresolved medical problems. Concepts such as maximum medical rehabilitation distracted attention from workers' ongoing chronic and unstable health situations, and incentive levers to employers directed some of the least capable workers into the program. As well, communication pathways for discussing health problems were limited by rules and provider reluctance to reveal problems. Therefore, workers completing the program were deemed 'employable', while ongoing and problematic health conditions preventing employment remained relatively uncharted and invisible.
This study reinforces how the shift in disability management paradigm to a focus on ability and return to work requires consideration of environmental conditions, including policies and programs and implementation. A focus on the environment in which worker ability can be enacted might be as important as a focus on improving individual worker characteristics.
The objective of this study was to explore access to dental care for low-income communities from the perspectives of low-income people, dentists and related health and social service-providers. The case study included 60 interviews involving, low-income adults (N = 41), dentists (N = 6) and health and social service-providers (N = 13). The analysis explores perceptions of need, evidence of unmet needs, and three dimensions of access--affordability, availability and acceptability. The study describes the sometimes poor fit between private dental practice and the public oral health needs of low-income individuals. Dentists and low-income patients alike explained how the current model of private dental practice and fee-for-service payments do not work well because of patients' concerns about the cost of dentistry, dentists' reluctance to treat this population, and the cultural incompatibility of most private practices to the needs of low-income communities. There is a poor fit between private practice dentistry, public dental benefits and the oral health needs of low-income communities, and other responses are needed to address the multiple dimensions of access to dentistry, including community dental clinics sensitive to the special needs of low-income people.
To determine if inequities in access to osteoporosis investigation [dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) testing] and treatment (bisphosphonate, calcitonin, and/or raloxifene) exist among older women in a region with universal health care coverage.
Community-dwelling women aged 65-89 years residing within 2 regions of Ontario, Canada were randomly sampled. Data were collected by standardized telephone interview. Potential correlates of DXA testing (verified by physician records), and current treatment were grouped by type as: "predisposing characteristics," "enabling resources," or "need factors" based on hypothesized relationships formulated before data collection. Variables associated with each outcome independent of "need factors" identified inequities in the system.
Of the 871 participants (72% response rate), 55% had been tested by DXA and 20% were receiving treatment. Using multiple variable logistic regression to adjust for need factors, significant inequities in access to DXA testing existed by age, health beliefs, education, income, use of preventive health services, region, and provider sex. DXA testing mediated access to treatment; 34% of those having had a DXA were treated compared with 2% of those who did not. Among women with osteoporosis, correctly reporting that their DXA test indicated osteoporosis and higher perceived benefits of taking pharmacological agents for osteoporosis were associated with treatment.
Significant inequities in access to fracture prevention exist in a region with universal health care coverage. Improved access to DXA and better communication to patients of both their DXA results and the benefits of treatment has the potential to reduce the burden of osteoporosis.
This article aims to show how a discourse and communication based approach in the context of the care of the elderly provides a basis for reflecting on pain. Based on six hours of data from talk encounters between care professionals and elderly clients, an activity analysis of institutional settings and categorization of interactional discourse was undertaken. The focus was: (a) how elderly people initiated painful accounts, and (b) how the professionals oriented to such accounts. It is found that pain-talks are governed by the institutional practice of different phases:framing; mapping troubles and symptoms; clients' self presentations; counseling, and concluding. This phase structure exemplifies knowledge of communicative activities and is part of practical knowledge which the party, or at least the professional, is expected to become acquainted with. A thematic interactional map of critical moments related to pain as (a) social death and hope, and (b) presentation of self as past and self as present emerges. The caring aspect is to support hope and to change the focus from social death to life and recovering. In foregrounding health, it is important for the elderly people to affirm their identity of themselves as being good and honest persons.