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Wetaskiwin Hospital officially opens cultural healing room

The space is dedicated to holistic healing and prayer for Indigenous patients and families
Rug in the centre of the healing room at Wetaskiwin Hospital. (Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer)

The Wetaskiwin Hospital and Care Centre officially opened its new healing room June 21, on National Indigenous People’s Day.

The healing room is a dedicated space in the Wetaskiwin Hospital which will provide a place of spiritual healing, traditional ceremonies and holistic healing for Indigenous patients and their families.

Located across from the gift shop just inside the hospital’s main entrance, the cultural space is the second of its kind in Alberta. The first healing room opened in January 2014 at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) states that they hope Indigenous families will find the room to be a safe place to reflect, pray, and gather.

“We want to find ways for the system to work better with Indigenous health,” says Executive Director with AHS’ Indigenous Wellness Core, Marty Landrie.

“This room is a place that can help provide balance between the highly clinical world of a hospital and spiritual well-being for patients. This space also allows families to provide support in a culturally meaningful way.”

The room itself is decorated with an assortment of Cree art and in the centre of the room is a large round rug boasting the traditional medicine wheel, traditional Indigenous animal depictions and the values of humanity, humility, courage, wisdom, truth, love and respect written in bold.

AHS says that a generous contribution from the Wetaskiwin Health Foundation of $75,000 helped bring the vision for the room to life.

The healing room will be accessible through nursing staff and local advisors with the Indigenous Wellness Core in the Central Zone 24 hours a day.

“We hope it will be a place of healing and peace for all those who enter,” says John Strong, Executive Director of the Wetaskiwin Health Foundation.

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Executive Director of the Wetaskiwin Health Foundation John Strong speaks at the grand opening of the healing room at Wetaskiwin Hospital. (Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer)