Patient Access to Indigenous Spiritual Ceremonies

Indigenous Health

Patient Access to Indigenous Spiritual Ceremonies


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Alberta Health Services (AHS) is committed to providing culturally safe, accessible healthcare to all our patients. This includes supporting the practice of Indigenous spiritual ceremonies inside all of our sites.


Ceremonies like smudging and pipe ceremonies play an important role in an Indigenous patient’s healing journey. That is why AHS has developed the Patient Access to Indigenous Spiritual Ceremony policy to ensure all patients have consistent support to hold ceremonies no matter where in the province they are receiving care.

Ceremonies may be tied to a birth, a death, or if a patient is feeling unwell and chooses to pray. There are no restrictions on the number of times a day a patient can request to smudge, nor circumstances. Patients who wish to perform ceremony inside an AHS site should speak to their healthcare team or the cultural support staff at that stie.

Truth & Reconciliation Calls to Action

We are called upon in the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action to incorporate traditional healing practices for Indigenous patients and families. This is just one more way that AHS is striving to provide culturally safe care for Indigenous patients and families.

Indigenous Wellness Core

Dedicated AHS Indigenous Wellness Core staff, including Indigenous Hospital Liaisons and Traditional Wellness Coordinators, are available throughout the province to assist, although not required in facilitating ceremonies. They take into consideration culturally appropriate health services for all First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.