If you are a francophone in Saskatchewan, you have access to a special service in Saskatchewan’s health care facilities, thanks to the Réseau Santé en français de la Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan Network for Health Services in French).
Réseau Santé en français de la Saskatchewan (RSFS) runs the Health Accompagnateur Service, which has volunteers accompany francophone patients as they navigate the Saskatchewan health care system. Expanding access to French language services within healthcare is part of a five-year plan for the RSFS.
This service is meant to help francophones who need a guide and interpretation services in their healthcare journey. Their role is to act as an interpreter in meetings with various health care providers, from doctors and pharmacists to lab technologists, nurses and therapists. Many of them are volunteers who are fluent in both French and English, and have received training as to their role and the code of ethics they must adhere to, as well as health terminology and the healthcare system in general. This service is an option for francophone patients in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert.
“We recognize that if your spoken language isn’t English, accessing health services can be especially stressful,” explains Jenna Webb, Executive Director of Communications and Creative Services with responsibility for translation services with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. “We do offer several different translation services currently and are working to make options more consistent throughout the province. This service for French speakers has a very personal touch to it, and we hope it provides that additional comfort our patients need.”
Because of the complexity and the need for clear understanding between doctor and patient, it is encouraged that patients receive instructions and are asked questions in their first language, whenever possible. Patients and families are encouraged to inquire about language interpretation supports upon registration to access supports in their language of choice.
The Health Accompagnateur Service can be accessed by calling the RSFS at 1-844-437-0373.