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Canadian Nurses Association supports critical investments and accountability measures for home care across Canada

Ottawa, January 26, 2017 — The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) held a press conference today to support critical investments in home care that will benefit Canadian patients and families. Despite having one of the world’s most expensive health systems, Canada provides minimal funding for home care. On any given day, almost 7,500 hospital beds are occupied by patients who cannot be discharged due to the lack of accessible home care services. This shortage contributes to rising costs and reduced efficiency in our publicly funded health system.

CNA supports the bilateral agreements the federal government has struck with some provinces and territories to accelerate investments in home care and mental health. We will continue to call for a new health accord that adequately funds home- and community-based care. Yet any agreements must include accountability measures to show that these targeted funds are bringing care closer to home.

In 2016 CNA partnered with the Canadian Home Care Association and the College of Family Physicians of Canada — consulting broadly to understand what it will take to deliver better home care. Together, we developed a national action plan that calls for principle-based home care standards to ensure a consistent and equitable approach across Canada. While standards will guide us in developing the right, client-centred outcome measures for home care, it is public reporting that will hold governments and health service providers accountable for delivering truly accessible, acceptable, safe, effective and efficient home care from coast to coast. This is what Canadians have told us they want.

As most Canadians in need of home care rely on volunteerism and unpaid care, family caregivers — who provide more than 80 per cent of such care — are experiencing undue financial, emotional and physical burdens. It is time for governments to step up and give them more support. We would also like to see more recognition for these caregivers. A statement by the prime minister on National Carer Day would help to show the diversity and value of their role. 

“Nurses, as the backbone of the health system, witness first-hand every day what the lack of home care services means for all Canadians. As 85 per cent of those surveyed have clearly told us, increased home- and community-based care is key to improving the health-care system. It is crucial to invest in home care now,” said Barb Shellian, president of the Canadian Nurses Association.

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Background:
Community Health Care

The Canadian Nurses Association is the national professional voice representing over 139,000 registered nurses and nurse practitioners in Canada. CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.

For more information, please contact:
Kevin Ménard
Communications Advisor
Canadian Nurses Association
Tel.: 613-237-2159, ext. 543
E-mail: kmenard@cna-aiic.ca