Family Caregivers contribute an astounding $25 billion of unpaid labor to the health care system



    OTTAWA, April 14 /CNW Telbec/ - Today's report - Who Cares and How Much?
The imputed economic contribution to the Canadian healthcare system of
middle-aged and older unpaid caregivers providing care to the elderly,
released by Marcus J. Hollander, Guiping Liu and Neena L. Chappell, provides
astounding information as to the costs of unpaid care provided by Canadians to
elderly family members and friends with long-term health problems. To date
information on the nature of the tasks unpaid caregivers perform, and the
amounts of time they spend on these tasks was often unclear leaving the
contribution of unpaid caregivers to be largely unknown and grossly
underestimated.
    Family caregivers provide care and assistance for spouses, children,
parents and other extended family members who are in need of support because
of age, disabling medical conditions, chronic injury, long term illness or
disability. The study released today suggests that the imputed costs of
replacing the unpaid care provided by Canadians to the elderly would be $25-26
billion annually. (Imputed costs refer to costs that would be incurred if the
care provided by an unpaid caregiver was, instead, provided by a paid
caregiver, on a direct hour-for-hour substitution basis.)
    "Family caregivers are the invisible backbone of the health and long term
care system. We have seen from the front lines that without family caregivers,
the formal healthcare will not be able cope", said Nadine Henningsen,
President of the Canadian Caregivers Coalition and Executive Director of the
Canadian Home Care Association.
    The Canadian Caregiver Coalition believes that governments, the public
and private sector organizations need to support a Canadian Caregiving
Strategy which includes:

    
    - Safeguarding the health and wellbeing of family caregivers and
      increasing the flexibility and availability of respite care
    - Minimizing excessive financial burden placed on family caregivers
    - Enabling access to user friendly information and education
    - Creating flexible workplace environments that respect caregiving
      obligations
    - Investing in research on family caregiving as a foundation for
      evidence-informed decision making
    

    The CCC calls on the Federal Government to take a leadership role by
enriching the existing caregiver tax credits; and immediately announcing the
creation of an advisory panel to determine effective and meaningful ways for
assisting the growing population of caregivers in Canada.

    About the Canadian Caregiver Coalition

    The Canadian Caregiver Coalition is a diverse group of national and
provincial organizations from across Canada that work collaboratively to
represent and promote the needs and interests of family caregivers with all
levels of government, and the community. The vision of the Canadian Caregivers
Coalition is a Canada that recognizes and respects the integral role of family
caregivers in society, and supports this role with the understanding that it
is not a substitute for public responsibility in health and social care.




For further information:

For further information: Nadine Henningsen, President, Canadian
Caregiver Coalition & Executive Director, Canadian Home Care Association,
(613) 569-1585, www.ccc-ccan.ca


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