Health Care Teams Proving to Deliver Better Care to Canadians Coping with Chronic Diseases

    Teams Should be "Standard of Care" for Canadians with Chronic Health

    TORONTO, April 29 /CNW/ - As Canada's health care system deals with an
aging population, collaborative health care teams are an effective way to
treat the increasing number of Canadians with chronic health conditions.
    "The fact that more than nine million Canadians have at least one chronic
condition means that we should proactively advance the delivery of
comprehensive and seamless care, using collaborative teams," said Jeanne
Besner, Chair of the Health Council of Canada. "Collaborative care teams work
with patients and families to provide a broad range of preventative and
treatment services that reflect the specific needs and health goals of
individuals and families and enhance people's ability to manage their own
health, thereby potentially reducing the financial burden on the health care
    The Health Council of Canada released Teams in Action: Primary Health
Care Teams for Canadians today, a report on the state of teams throughout
Canada. They found that, while teams look different across the country,
studies have reported that they are made up of two or more health care
professionals, usually from different disciplines, working together in a
coordinated, integrated effort to provide a patient's basic health care.
    Collaborative team care is a significant shift in the way Canadians are
receiving their primary health care. Many Canadians may not know that this
type of health care service is available to them, but they should - both as
taxpayers and people who use health care services.
    "Collaborative health care teams should be the standard of care for
Canadians with a chronic health condition, like diabetes, heart disease or
depression," said John Abbott, CEO of the Health Council of Canada.

    Some examples of the positive effects of team-based care:
    -   Patients with heart disease who received team-based follow-up care
        were less likely to be hospitalized than those who did not.
    -   Diabetes patients receiving team-based care reported better health
        results such as lower blood pressure.
    -   Alzheimer's patients receiving collaborative care had significantly
        fewer psychological symptoms of dementia at 12 and 18 months, without
        increasing their medication.
    -   Terminally ill patients receiving team-managed home-based care
        reported significant improvements in factors such as their level of
        pain and mental health.

    "The research shows us that patients in team-based care make fewer visits
to doctors and hospitals. Not only has it helped patients with chronic
disease, but also those with high health needs and those who live in an
underserviced part of the country, manage their care in a more active and
effective way," said Abbott.
    In 2004, Canadian governments committed to making sure that 50 per cent
of Canadians would be receiving care from teams of health professionals,
rather than family doctors alone, by 2011. With this target just two years
away, the expansion of teams for those who would benefit should be done in
addition to more evaluation to better assess the use of teams for the general
    To read the Health Council of Canada's report, Teams in Action: Primary
Health Care Teams for Canadians, to provide your feedback, or to request a CD,
please visit:
    Canadians are invited to share their experiences with primary health care
teams on the message board at:

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Alison Reed, Temple Scott Associates for Health Council of Canada, Phone:
(416) 360-6183 x 227, E-mail:; Miranda Germani, Temple Scott
Associates for Health Council of Canada, Phone: (416) 360-6183 x 238, E-mail:; Pierre Lachaine, Health Council of Canada - Media Relations,
Phone: (416) 480-7085, Cell: (416) 779-4532,

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