TORONTO, Nov. 17, 2011 /CNW/ - The Canadian Cancer Society applauds
recommendations about family caregiver support and palliative care in a
report released today by the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and
Compassionate Care (PCPCC) and urges the federal government to take
The report - Not to be forgotten: care of vulnerable Canadians - focuses on elderly, dying and vulnerable Canadians and provides
recommendations for improving palliative care, family caregiver
support, elder abuse and suicide prevention. The PCPCC is an ad-hoc,
all party group of federal MPs who formed the committee on their own
initiative. The report reflects testimony from hundreds of people at 24
hearings and local round tables across Canada.
"The spirit of non-partisan collaboration shown by the MPs on this
committee is a great example of Parliament working at its best - MPs
working across party lines on issues of concern to Canadians," says Dan
Demers, Director, Public Issues, Canadian Cancer Society.
"Currently, we have a complicated patchwork of palliative care in
Canada, with significant disparities within and between provinces,"
says Demers. " This means that some patients may suffer needlessly
during an already difficult time. This is unacceptable. People at the
end of life are vulnerable and we must not abandon them."
The PCPCC's recommendations on palliative care include:
urging the federal government to re-establish a Palliative Care
Secretariat to conduct and support research, as well as facilitating
communication and collaboration among the various levels of government
and community stakeholders
collaborative development and implementation of national standards for
quality palliative care
coordination and dissemination of palliative and end-of-life research
and information resources
developing a flexible integrated model of palliative healthcare delivery
that would take into account the geographic, regional and cultural
diversity of Canada while providing a funding mechanism to help the
provinces and territories with implementation.
Family Caregiver Support
Eighty-eight per cent of Canadians said that providing care for a family
member would have a negative impact on their financial situation,
according to a Canadian Cancer Society 2011 poll.
"The poll sent a clear signal that the majority of Canadians believe
that family caregivers need more financial support and that this should
be a priority healthcare issue," says Demers.
The Society has been advocating for better financial support for family
caregivers through improvements to the Compassionate Care Benefit,
which is administered by the federal employment insurance program.
These improvements, which are reflected in the PCPCC's recommendations,
Timeframe for financial benefits: Increase the benefit period from the current six weeks to 26 weeks,
accessible during a 52-week period.
More flexibility: allow people to claim benefits for partial weeks taken over a longer
period, rather than blocks of weeks at a time.
Revise eligibility criteria: change the terminology for people eligible for benefits from
"significant risk of death" to "significant need of caregiving due to a
life threatening illness."
The Society also supports the PCPCC's recommendation that the federal
government establish a refundable tax credit for family caregivers to
help families with the costs of providing care. The refundable tax
credit, an enhancement to the family caregiver tax credit announced in
the March federal budget, would provide a lump sum reimbursement of
caregiver expenses, which would be of benefit to lower income families.
"More must be done in Canada to ensure people dying from cancer and
other serious illnesses have access to high-quality palliative care no
matter where they live," says Demers. "And it is simply unacceptable
for family caregivers, who are already giving so much, to also have to
deal with financial difficulties. The Society will continue to lobby
the federal government to take action on these two important issues."
The report - Not to be forgotten: care of vulnerable Canadians - is available on the website for the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and
Compassionate Care: http://pcpcc-cpspsc.com/
The Canadian Cancer Society fights cancer by doing everything we can to
prevent cancer, save lives and support people living with cancer. Join
the fight! Go to www.ifightcancer.ca to find out how you can help. When you want to know more about cancer,
visit our website at cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.
SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (National Office)
For further information:
Bilingual Communications Specialist