Teams working to Reduce the Impact of Financial Strain (RIFS) took action to promote financial well-being together.

Community teams discovered the true power of bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders, including community organizers and members, who all share a common goal. Relationship building, developing trust and adapting to the needs of unique individuals and circumstances was important at every step. Primary care teams also worked together with communities to create services that respond directly to their patient's unique needs.

· Iterative

· Co-design with frontline, patient and community

· Positive frame, avoid deficit language

· Cultural sensitivity

· Integration

· Collaborative approach

· Human-centered design

· Responsive approach and self-assessment

· Power within community

· Leverage existing resource, supports and work

· Start small/build together/test and modify

· Good enough, don’t let perfect get in the way of progress

· Promote stories

· Work with transparency, engage early

· Link to stakeholders

· Inclusivity

· Think about sustainability from the start 

What they discovered

Explore what matters most

  • With a more holistic and collaborative approach, conversations shifted both at the community and patient-level about what matters most to each individual and how we can improve the overall financial well-being of the community.   Lacey's Story

Walk in their shoes

  • Primary care and community teams discovered how powerful it is to start from a place of empathy by walking in someone else’s shoes. Activities like the poverty simulation, journey mapping, personas, and listening to stories reduced preconceived notions, biases, and agendas.   Joanne's Story

Just start

  • Primary care teams discovered they could start small with the power of asking one question: “do you ever have difficulty making ends meet?” even if you do not know the solution.   Brian's Story

Identify the invisible

  • It is easy to assume that a person has what they need to make ends meet. Unless we ask, we could be missing the big picture, and our interventions not only waste time but potentially create inequities. Ask and listen.   Stephanie's Story 

Build trust

  • Building a trusting relationship and an inclusive environment allowed patients to have essential discussions neccessary to address any underlying causes that could be impacting their health.   Lacey's Story

Collaborate with community

  • Health professionals, leadership, and community partners all play a critical role in improving financial well-being. Community teams came together to learn, connect and integrate these essential services together. They discovered ways to collectively take action in order to better support the unique situations of each community and their patients.   Tara's Story

Lessons learned about collaboration

Think intersectoral

  • It takes more than health care: interventions within the clinic need the support of organizations outside of the health system.   Marcel's Story

Collaborative mindset

  • Work together and across: use a collaborative approach with professionals, organizations, and community members to create a plan.   Lisa's Story


  • Establish the direction: agree on a common vision, purpose, and goal. 

Community defined actions

  • Start from where you are: work with a community multi-sector team to determine local priorities to drive co-designed actions.   Rick's Story

Be flexible to be relevant

  • Flexibility is key: responding and adapting to emerging needs ensures the actions are relevant.   Shelley's Story

Expand your network

  • Engage beyond local: complex, multi-stakeholder interventions may require additional support at the provincial level. 


Lessons learned

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