Canada's nurse leader and Council of the Federation chair talk one-on-one about aboriginal and seniors health

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, Aug. 27, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - This morning, Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) president Dr. Karima Velji met one-on-one with the Council of the Federation's chair, PEI's Premier Robert Ghiz, to strongly support the call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, discuss strategies for improving health care for aboriginal Canadians and reinforce the need for immediate action on a seniors health strategy. Following a meeting last week with federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose, CNA is in Prince Edward Island for the provincial/territorial council meetings.

"The premiers have the full force of Canada's nursing profession behind their efforts to either press the federal government for a public inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women or to get it done themselves," said Velji. "As the main health provider and link to the system for many aboriginal communities, registered nurses want to expose the systemic issues that affect the health and well-being of our indigenous communities."

Registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners deliver the bulk of health care in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. When RNs work with an expanded scope of practice, as some do through the First Nations and Inuit health branch, they significantly improve access to care and health outcomes of the communities. Furthermore, RNs emphasize the need for greater attention to disparities in maternal and child health and advocate for more sustainable human resources that can provide culturally-sensitive care in aboriginal communities.

Action was also part of Velji's discussion with Ghiz as it is a key factor in healthy aging and seniors care. We have to move far beyond asking for a broad strategy on seniors care, said Velji. RNs have long been building the case for more community-based care because it would facilitate better disease prevention and management and improve patient care and caregiver support. Not only is community-based care more sustainable and effective, it's what Canadian seniors and their families desire.

"On behalf of Canada's RNs, I stressed the need for immediate action," said Velji. "Today, throughout the country, RNs are leading and implementing solutions that are effectively improving the health system and the health of older Canadians. We need ongoing commitment from these government leaders to meaningfully partner with health providers."

CNA is inspired by the strong public support for Canada's universal and publicly funded health-care system as expressed in the survey completed by Canadian Health Coalition. More than 80 per cent of those surveyed want the federal government to play a strong role in shaping a health-care system of the future. CNA is in PEI with the Council of the Federation as it has been a partner on the council's health-care innovation working group since its inception in 2012. Ghiz was an inaugural co-chair on this working group along with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.

CNA supports action to scale local innovations into national solutions. CNA and its PEI provincial member, the Association of Registered Nurses of Prince Edward Island, will visit two health-care facilities - Colville Manor in Souris and Harbourside Health Centre in Summerside - that exemplify patient-centred care and interprofessional collaborative care teams.

CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada representing 151,404 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.

SOURCE: Canadian Nurses Association

For further information: Kate Headley, External Communications Coordinator, Canadian Nurses Association, Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 561, Cell: 613-697-7507, E-mail: kheadley@cna-aiic.ca

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