Francophone patient partners bring insights to health system navigation

Simone Dahrouge

Simone Dahrouge, from the Bruyère Research Institute in Ottawa, is the primary investigator on an OSSU IMPACT Award investigating how patient navigators may help Franco-Ontarians access community services and achieve their health goals. Simone spoke to us about the value patient partners bring to her research.

“Although we’ve all been patients or caregivers, we need to involve that group in our research because that’s not the hat we wear at the table. We think of things from our professional perspective. It’s the patient partners’ role to bring the service users’ perspective. They have rich lived experiences, and bring diversity to the table. Their insights in shaping our navigation program definitely contributed to its success.”

“Not having services in your language of choice is definitely problematic. This is the reality for many Franco-Ontarians. You can miss the nuances, and this can compromise care. The more the care you need relies on communication, such as in mental health, the bigger the barrier. There is also a cultural component. There is a sense of belonging when getting services in your own language; it’s easier to form that rapport with the provider. If you are sick and not in your comfort zone, it can be especially stressful. Our patient partners bring this valuable perspective to the research.”