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Health begins at home, says Canadian nurses and citizens alike

Ottawa, November 25, 2014 — The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is meeting with MPs and senators this morning with practical solutions to improve the health of the country’s seniors — an issue nurses and Canadians say should be dealt with by providing health care to seniors in their homes.

A national Nanos poll [PDF, 309.1 KB] conducted for CNA found that virtually all Canadians agree it is important to be able to age at home with the benefit of home-based care (75 per cent said it was important, 21 per cent that it was somewhat important).

“Clearly Canadians want action on seniors care and healthy aging,” said CNA president Karima Velji. “Enhancing home health care makes sense because it’s what Canadians want, but also because the evidence shows it can make positive differences in a person’s health status, relieve pressure on overcrowded care facilities and lead to performance efficiencies in the health system.”

Data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information indicate that seniors, who represent about 14 per cent of Canada’s population, use hospital services more often than any other age group, with hospital stays by those 65 and older at 40 per cent. It is estimated that, on any given day in Canada, 7,500 hospital beds are occupied by patients who are cleared for hospital discharge but who cannot access the appropriate next phase of care. Of those patients, 2,100 will be waiting for home care services, 3,300 will be waiting for a long-term care bed and over 800 will die while they are in the process of such waiting.

“The issue of seniors care and healthy aging has a wide scope with many elements, and it is one in which many provider groups, sectors and governments are working,” said Velji. “CNA has developed a specific set of focused recommendations that the federal government can lead today. We’re happy that public polling validated our solutions. They represent a lot of research and collaboration with the health community, not to mention the expertise and the first-hand experience of Canada’s nearly 300,000 RNs.”

CNA’s recommendations:

  1. Establish standards across Canada for home health care to ensure all Canadians equitable access to care services that support them in healthy aging.
  2. Increase supports to Canadians who provide care for aging relatives by making the existing Family Caregiver Tax Credit refundable.
  3. Expand the New Horizons for Seniors Program by incorporating a new objective to support healthy and active aging.

Nanos Research poll highlights:

  • Almost all Canadians think it’s important (74.8%) or somewhat important (21.1%) to be able to age at home with access to health care in a home setting.
  • Increased financial support for family caregivers who are supporting aging relatives received the next highest level of approval (67.0% support and 26.8% somewhat support), followed by publicly funding all of the community health care that a senior will need delivered at home (51.0% support and 31.5% somewhat support).
  • Additional funding to the provinces for seniors home health care (35.0%) and for community nurses to help seniors and caregivers connect with the right services (30.3%) ranked as the highest preferred activities the federal government should undertake to meet the health-care goals of seniors.

Research data were obtained through a Nanos Research omnibus poll conducted for CNA between October 18 and 21, 2014. Nanos asked Canadians for their views on home care and other supports for Canada’s aging population. Results are accurate within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada representing 151,404 registered nurses. CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.


For more information, please contact:

Kate Headley, External Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 561
Cell: 613-697-7507
E-mail: kheadley@cna-aiic.ca