National Guidelines for Family Caregivers of Adults Living with Mental Illness

MISSISSSAUGA, ON, June 27, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Caregiver Coalition (CCC) applauds the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) of the release of the National Guidelines for a Comprehensive Service System for Family Caregivers of Adults with Mental Health Problems and Illnesses. This project  was spearheaded by the Family Caregivers Advisory Committee (FCAC) of MHCC. The Guidelines provide much needed recognition and identified actions to support the needs of family caregivers of adults living with mental illness in Canada.

The guidelines give voice to many of the major concerns and needs of Canadian family caregivers and propose an evidence-informed, comprehensive approach to meeting these needs.  "They [the guidelines] clearly acknowledge the unpredictable nature and challenges of many mental illnesses and the resultant impact on the health and wellness of the family caregivers who provide care and support", said Nadine Henningsen, President of the Canadian Caregiver Coalition. "A critical step in supporting caregivers is to understand and address their unique needs as separate from the individual they are caring for."

Family caregivers come from all walks of life - old and young; female (predominantly) and male (increasingly); and from all financial income levels.  Caregivers bear substantial costs — economic, social, physical and psychological. They are likely to incur out-of-pocket expenses and significant lifetime income losses, and they commonly experience stress, social isolation and guilt. "We are encouraged by the recommendations contained in the report", stated Jamie Sutherland, CCC Signatory Partner. "The actions to address a range of challenges faced by family caregivers including significant emotional, physical, financial and social burdens are necessary to support the health and wellbeing of caregivers".

In order to achieve a vision of "a Canada that recognizes and respects the integral role of family caregivers", all governments have a vital role to play.  These guidelines will raise awareness of the importance of caregiving and ensure effective measures are in place. To this end, the CCC advocates that the federal, provincial and territorial governments adopt a caregiver strategy that encompasses five critical actions that have been identified by family caregivers and caregiver support organizations across the country:

  • Safeguard the health and wellbeing of caregivers.
  • Minimize excessive financial burden placed on family caregivers.
  • Enable access to user friendly information and education.
  • Create flexible workplace environments that respect caregiving obligations.
  • Invest in research on family caregiving as a foundation for evidence-informed decision making.

The guidelines are an excellent tool to support the needs of family caregivers of adults living with mental illness in Canada.  The CCC will continue to work with stakeholders to advance policy for and advocate on behalf of all family 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 works 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 Caregiver 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.

SOURCE: Canadian Caregiver Coalition

For further information:

Nadine Henningsen, President, Canadian Caregiver Coalition
289-290-4389
nhenningsen@cdnhomecare.ca

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Canadian Caregiver Coalition

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