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CNA advocates for primary, collaborative and community-based care – News Release

Ottawa, October 21, 2011 – This week, the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) presented to three parliamentary committees as part of its mission to advance nursing, health and health-system policy. Presenting on behalf of Canada’s quarter-million registered nurses, CNA’s CEO Rachel Bard and president-elect Barb Mildon brought the nursing perspective to discussions about primary care reform, chronic disease management and elder abuse.

“Common among all our health-care priorities is an emphasis on primary, collaborative and community-based care,” said Bard. “Whether we’re examining chronic diseases, elder abuse or the continuum of the whole health system, to be the healthiest nation we can be, our government must leverage the power of interprofessional teams, invest in preventive health initiatives and bring care to where Canadians are — in the community.” Since the implementation of the 2004 health accord (set to expire in 2014), some progress has been made in reducing wait times for health services, but bottlenecks still exist that interfere with Canadians’ access to quality health care. Chronic diseases, for example, represent 67 per cent of all direct health-care costs. Costly to budgets and productivity, chronic diseases such as diabetes could be prevented and delayed if the system provided the appropriate structure and support. Community-based services and interprofessional care models improve health outcomes by emphasizing health promotion and disease prevention, and by bringing multiple levels of care together to maximize health human resources.

“With a holistic perspective, nurses see the gaps and opportunities that exist along the continuum of care,” said Mildon. “We’re advocating for the government to make the health of Canadians a priority and focus efforts on bringing care options as close to home for Canadians as possible.”

One such opportunity is to realign nursing resources within the health-care system. Approximately 70 per cent of Canada’s registered nurses work in acute care settings where the focus is on short-term treatment for injury, episodic illness, surgery or urgent medical conditions. Realigning resources to close the gap between nurses practising in acute care and those working in primary care, including public health, home- and community-based settings, will benefit Canadians by giving them more education about their health, support for preventing and managing chronic illnesses, and better access to collaborative interprofessional teams.

The nursing perspective was offered to three separate committees throughout the week. First, the presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health focused on healthy aging and prevention and management of chronic diseases. Next, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology heard CNA’s ideas on how a renewed focus on primary care reform would make the most of the health accord’s remaining 26 months. Finally, the presentation to the parliamentary Standing Committee on the Status of Women explored how the country could put an end to elder abuse.

The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. A federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing 143,843 registered nurses, CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Kate Headley, External Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 561
Cell: 613-697-7507
E-mail: kheadley@cna-aiic.ca
Website: www.cna-aiic.ca