Clinical Strategies to Develop Connections, Promote Health and Address Pain From the Perspectives of Indigenous Youth, Elders, and Clinicians

Frontiers in Pain Research, Vol. 3 (2022)

  • Rachel VanEvery
  • Department of Health, Aging, and Society, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • Margot Latimer
  • Faculties of Health and Medicine, Dalhousie University, Centre for Pediatric Pain, IWK Health, Halifax, NS, Canada
  • Angela Naveau
  • De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre, Hamilton, ON, Canada


In this article we discuss findings from a community based, participatory action research study. The aim was to understand how Indigenous youth describe, experience, manage pain and hurt and how they seek care. A critical analysis guided by Two-Eyed Seeing and Medicine Wheel frameworks highlighted important clinical strategies for Indigenous youth to balance their health and reduce pain. This study is a partnership project with an Aboriginal Health Centre in Southern Ontario and the Canadian Institute of Health Research funded Aboriginal Children's Hurt and Healing Initiative (ACHH). The study gathered perspectives of Indigenous youth, Elders, and health clinicians using conversation sessions guided by a First Nations doctoral student and nurse researcher. Using the medicine wheel framework three main thematic areas emerged across the three groups and include (1) Predictors of Imbalance; (2) Indicators of Imbalance; and (3) Strategies to re-establish balance health in relation to pain. The main strategy includes considerations for clinicians using the acronym LISTEN (Language, Individual, Share, Teachable moments, Engage, and Navigate) approach that outlines strategies for clinicians that will be a safe guide to manage pain and hurt.

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