In May, the Saskatoon Health Region introduced a new smudging facilitation policy to better enhance patient access to the traditional practice.

Now, the health region is working to educate all of their stuff on smudging and the new policy.

According to the health region, the new smudging facilitation policy is in place to better guide their employees in offering the traditional practice to patients.

The health region has always tried to accommodate smudging, but the policy more clearly defines what smudging is and how employees can better accommodate requests for the service.

Gabe Lafond, the region’s Director for First Nations and Metis Health, says they have worked with several patients and community members to get this policy in place.

“It wasn’t an easy process, but we are happy to see that we have a policy that has been approved by our board, leadership team and the community, so this has been quite the journey but it has been rewarding,” said Lafond.

The policy was originally introduced in May and the health region has been holding training seminars to help educate staff and interested community members on the practice of smudging and the new policy.

“It helps explain what smudging really means and why community members practice it from a prayer perspective,” said Lafond.

According to the policy, the region will facilitate smudging requests at all of their overnight stay facilities in designated smudging areas.

In special circumstances, smudging may be provided at bed-side as well.