Family Caregivers are vital to good palliative support

OTTAWA, May 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Caregiver Coalition (CCC) welcomes the call for support for family caregivers made by the Canadian Cancer Society in its report - Canadian Cancer Statistics 2010, released yesterday.

The report describes family caregivers who are looking after dying people as experiencing "significant psychological and financial burdens". Excluding the loss of income due to time off work to provide care for the terminally ill loved one, the report cites Statistics Canada data for costs to family caregivers at $1,000 per month.

The CCC acknowledges that there is a mixture of measures in place to help relieve family caregivers, but as the Cancer Society report shows, they are inconsistent and for some cancer patients and their families, inadequate. "Family caregivers are the invisible backbone of the health care system. We have seen from the front lines that without family caregivers, the formal healthcare system will not be able to cope", said Nadine Henningsen, President of the CCC and Executive Director of the Canadian Home Care Association.

The CCC believes that a national Caregiving Strategy should be launched by the federal government. A Caregiving Strategy would provide a framework to guide our collective and individual response as to how society supports family caregivers. The Caregiving Strategy should include approaches targeted at:

    -  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
    -  Investing in research on family caregiving as a foundation for
       evidence-informed decision making

There is a role for all levels of government and sectors of society to support family caregivers. Family caregivers matter and Canadians are considered to be a compassionate people. National leadership will increase our awareness of this priority and serve as a catalyst for change across all jurisdictions.

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 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.

SOURCE Canadian Home Care Association

For further information: For further information: Nadine Henningsen, President, Canadian Caregiver Coalition, (905) 361-3277,

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