Selection and Use of Health Services for Infants’ Needs by Indigenous Mothers in Canada: Integrative Literature Review
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In Canada, Indigenous infants experience significant health disparities when compared to non-Indigenous infants, including significantly higher rates of birth complications and infant mortality rates. The use of primary health care is one way to improve health outcomes; however, Indigenous children may use health services less often than non-Indigenous children. To improve health outcomes within this growing population, it is essential to understand how caregivers, defined here as mothers, select and use health services in Canada. This integrative review is the first to critique and synthesize what is known of how Indigenous mothers in Canada experience selecting and using health services to meet the health needs of their infants. Themes identified suggest both Indigenous women and infants face significant challenges; colonialism has had, and continues to have, a detrimental impact on Indigenous mothering; and very little is known about how Indigenous mothers select and use health services to meet the health of their infants. This review revealed significant gaps in the literature and a need for future research. Suggestions are made for how health providers can better support Indigenous mothers and infants in their use of health services, based on what has been explored in the literature to date.
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