Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Canadians are sick of the broken medical system.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An article concerning a Cardus report entitled Reframing the end-of-life conversation in Canada  that is published in the London Free Press and written by Kate Dubinski and Randy Richmond, confirms past Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) polls remain accurate. The Cardus report was released in Ottawa today makes suggestions for changes to end-of-life care in Canada.

According to the London Free Press article the Cardus report states:
Nearly three-quarters of Canadians don’t think they or their loved ones will receive the “comfort and support” they want and expect when facing a life-threatening illness or death, the poll commissioned by think-tank Cardus found. 
The poll findings show the need for most Canadians to think of an end-of-life plan before they’re forced to and when it may be too late, said Ray Pennings, executive vice-president of Cardus. 
“Lots of worthwhile things are being done, but we are still in a situation where 75% of Canadians are saying they want to die at home, surrounded by their natural caregiver, and 70% end up dying in hospital,” said Pennings, due to release a related report on end-of-life care Wednesday.
The London Free Press article continues:
People are frustrated. The health-care system is beyond failing. It has failed,” said Michelle Gatt, a seniors advocate in London. 
“We used to be seen as a leader in health care in the world. Now, we can’t even make the top 10.” 
Canada’s health care is like an old bicycle that’s been broken for years, said Kelly Meloche, a Windsor businessperson who helps Canadians get health care across the border. 
“We just keep trying to ride the broken bike,” she said. “It’s grim.”
EPC polls indicate that few Canadians strongly support euthanasia or assisted suicide and that support for euthanasia is based on a fear of a bad death. According to the Nanos poll that was conducted for Cardus, 73% of Canadians don't expect to receive the help they need from the healthcare system. It is this fear of suffering that drives support for euthanasia.

Cardus Health is a program advancing research on Canadian end-of-life care through three lenses:

1. Natural Death: We need to build a social system that supports the desire of Canadians for a natural death, which we understand to mean dying of natural causes in our natural environment surrounded by our natural caregivers.

2. Social Architecture: We need to think of this system in terms of more than health, recognizing that not only the patient but also the natural caregivers need to be the focus of support, and thus the full range of social institutions best equipped for natural deaths need to be made more available to more Canadians.

3. Continuum of Care: We need to think of the delivery of care not as a series of alternatives to be chosen between, but rather as a continuum of care in which there is a seamless continuity of end-of-life care supports and settings as our fellow Canadians and their loved ones travel the journey through to the end of their natural lives.

Cardus aims to build on the good work done by the 2011 Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care report - Not to be Forgotten and the hundreds of good organizations in this field, toward the common goal of bringing the best care to some of the most vulnerable among us.

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