Saturday, March 24, 2012

Compassionate care in Canada

It is a crime that those who need support in caring for family members cannot access it unless they have money to pay for such services, or access to institutions, where they can buy into a private room.

The CCB program is difficult to access if a doctor cannot predict end-of-life for a loved one. This was the case of my father. We knew he had a brain tumour, which caused dementia, but there was no way to predict when he would die from its impact on his brain functioning. He ended up living another 9 months, and I quit my job from the stress.

From CPCA and HPCO
An estimated 4 to 5 million Canadians are caring for an ill loved one. However, the stress can be immense - both emotionally and financially. Most caregivers are women, many of who are low-income.

A Global National investigation has found many families who need the money - aren't able to access the compassionate care benefit (CCB) program. A parliamentary report released in November 2011 even called for an overhaul of the system, but so far, there has been no action.

Sharon Baxter of the Canadian Palliative Care Association says Canada should take a "holistic" approach to compassionate care, one that doesn't rely solely on taxpayer dollars. She says more money should go toward programs like Meals on Wheels, or other non-profit organizations that help sick people.  Baxter doesn't believe the answer lies in hospitals.

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