Harm Reduction in Canadian Health Care: A Qualitative Study of Caring and Compassion in a Supervised Consumption Clinic
Rittenbach, Katherine K.
AuthorVan Dyke, Jessica Lauren
Committee MemberLightman, Naomi
Haines-Saah, Rebecca J.
Public and Social Welfare
Supervised Consumption Services
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AbstractThis autoethnographic research explores my lived experiences within Calgary’s only supervised consumption site, Safeworks, and those of program, staff and clients. In this thesis I am attentive to the everyday, the minute, and the details of lives lived within real time, in specific moments, and in actual situations. Drawing on several months of participatory observations within the supervised consumption site and 21 in-depth interviews with program staff and clients, I discuss how supervised consumption services offer more than a reduction in drug related harms; rather, these services fulfill an essential social void in the lives of people who use drugs – that of interpersonal recognition and respect. I offer consideration into caring relationships as they are cultivated at Safeworks – exploring the difficulties and tensions of caring for a population that is regularly publicly denounced and denied. Further, I offer a reflection of the ethical dilemmas present in the course of providing care; what may be felt to be intuitively just by some staff is seldom shared by all those involved in the delivery of supervised consumption services. What moral predicaments arise when clients present at Safeworks with more needs than staff can ever hope to meet? The burdens borne by staff, I argue, exist because they are not shared. In the absence of a collective vision of mutual recognition and resemblance with persons who use substances, care providers at Safeworks must work overtime: supporting clients to feel less stigmatized and less isolated, above attending to their daily needs in states of dependency, despair, and overdose, while simultaneously extending their reach to cover gaps in service delivery that manifest in societies indifferent to the plight of those overwhelmed by addictions.
CitationVan Dyke, J. L. (2020). Harm Reduction in Canadian Health Care: A Qualitative Study of Caring and Compassion in a Supervised Consumption Clinic (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary AB.
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