Health, illness and health care use analysis of flood affected farm families of rural Canada: some fundamental issues and a cautionary example

Manju P. Acharya, University of Lethbridge
Ruth Grant Kalischuk, University of Lethbridge
Kurt K. Klein, University of Lethbridge
Herbert C. Northcott, University of Alberta

This paper explores how flood-affected farm families in rural Canada understand health and illness, and also their health care use practices. The analysis is based on a case study of feedlot farm families undertaken after the 2005 flood in semi-arid southern Alberta, Canada. A vast majority of feedlot farm families interviewed did not experience physical health problems during the 2005 floods, but all experienced some form of emotional and psychological health problems. These families, however, did not seek help of health services despite their negative psychological health experiences. Instead, it seems that the feedlot farm families’ health care use during the 2005 floods is framed within the health promotion and biomedical approaches of the contemporary health and health care frameworks. The paper concludes with a cautionary note about the possible risk of this integrated surveillance health approach used by feedlot farm families in rural Canada.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Migration, environment and spatial demography