Ontario's doctors kick-off Check-Up Ontario in Sault Ste. Marie to identify patient-first solutions for chronic conditions affecting the aging population

SAULT STE. MARIE, ON, Jan. 27, 2016 /CNW/ - In an effort to identify and help implement patient-first solutions to tackle the looming challenges posed by an aging population, Ontario's doctors will be meeting local experts and advocates in Sault Ste. Marie today as part of Check-Up Ontario, a doctor-led consultation tour.

"Ensuring we are able to adequately respond to the challenges posed by an aging population with increasingly chronic and complex care needs is the single biggest issue facing Ontario's health-care system," said Dr. Mike Toth, president of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA). "Northern communities already face many unique challenges accessing health care, which is why we need to find solutions before the demand for care becomes unsustainable."

As part of Check-Up Ontario, Ontario's doctors will:

  • Launch an expert and public consultation tour in six cities across Ontario to identify key chronic care challenges, including those facing aging patients living with chronic conditions;
  • Convene Ontario's leading health-care experts to determine new and innovative ideas on how to improve patient-focused care by tackling the challenges posed by an aging population; and
  • Develop and release policies and recommendations to help begin solving the challenges posed by chronic conditions and an aging population.

The complex care needs of Ontarians with chronic conditions impact not only the patients themselves, but also their loved ones who often, particularly in the case of aging patients, serve as caregivers and 'quarterbacks' in coordinating care.

The reality of burdens placed on patients and their caregivers is particularly true in northern Ontario. Data from the District of Algoma Health Unit, which includes Sault Ste. Marie, shows that the population in the region is impacted greatly by chronic conditions and has a larger senior population when compared to the rest of the province.

In Algoma:

  • 19.1 per cent of the population is over 65 years vs. 12 percent in Ontario
  • There are 112.9 deaths per 100,000 as a result of ischaemic heart disease (heart disease is a disease characterized by reduced blood supply to the heart) compared to 86.9 deaths per 100,000 in Ontario.
  • 23.6 per cent of the population has high blood pressure (vs. 17.6 in Ontario)
  • 28.2 per cent of the population has arthritis (vs. 17.2 percent in Ontario)
  • 9.7 per cent of the population has diabetes (vs. 6.6 percent in Ontario)

Through consultations with community leaders, advocates and health-care experts, Ontario's doctors will identify what patients and families need from the system, as well as what physicians need from the system, in order to ensure timely access to patient-focused care in Ontario.

"We are looking forward to meeting with local experts, who are extremely passionate and committed to improving care for patients," Dr. Toth said. "By bringing together those on the front-lines of chronic disease, we will be able to build stronger links between the medical care that patients need and the supports that will ensure they are healthier."

Backgrounder on Chronic Conditions

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) represents more than 34,000 physicians and medical students across the province. Ontario's doctors work closely with patients to encourage healthy living practices and illness prevention. In addition to delivering front-line services to patients, Ontario's doctors play a significant role in helping shape health care policy, as well as implementing initiatives that strengthen and enhance Ontario's health care system.

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information: Nadia Daniell-Colarossi, Manager Media Relations, Office: 416-340-2970 or 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2970, Mobile: 416-804-4600, Email: nadia.daniell-colarossi@oma.org; Danielle Milley, Senior Advisor Media Relations, Office: 416-599-2580 ext. 3008 or 1-800-268-7215 ext. 3008, Mobile: 647-300-0081, Email: danielle.milley@oma.org


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