First meetings, committed partners

October 2016   Comments

The Council of the Federation (COF) meeting in Whitehorse in July was my first event as CNA president. The conversations I had with seven of the premiers, the Yukon member of Parliament and various territorial government officials focused on community-based care, home care and support for seniors. The Yukon Registered Nurses Association was instrumental in making these meetings a success, and CNA partnered with them all along the way.

CNA supported the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions in their targeted and strong advocacy for a national pharmacare program during a COF breakfast briefing. Canada is the only developed country with a universal health insurance system that does not include universal coverage for prescription drugs. About 10 per cent of Canadians cannot afford to fill their prescriptions, which can lead to complex care in emergency departments and clinics. I shared the seven recommendations CNA provided the House of Commons standing committee on health during its consultation process to develop a national pharmacare program.

Another part of my Yukon visit was participating in one of the consultation sessions to develop a national action plan for better home care, led by CNA, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Canadian Home Care Association. It was striking to see the congruence of opinions among citizens, health-care providers and politicians on the value of home care and the need for supports to help individuals recover from illness, live out their final days and manage long-term conditions at home. These opinions mirrored the findings of a recent Nanos poll commissioned by CNA. I was moved when an older woman who was caring for her aging spouse said that just the fact that someone wanted to hear what she had to say about her experience was empowering for her. The importance and value of home care and the impact that an evidence-based investment in community care will make cannot be ignored. I look forward to speaking at a plenary session of the 2016 Home Care Summit in Vancouver on Oct. 27, when the national action plan will be released.

My reflections after these meetings are that registered nurses are well positioned to influence the next health accord, that our opinion is respected and that we are grounded in the solutions of an evidence-based investment in community care and support for seniors. This is the path to a sustainable health-care system.

Barb Shellian, RN, BN, MN

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