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Canadians Urge Governments to Cooperate on a National Strategy for Seniors Health Care

Ottawa, Aug. 19, 2013 – Nine out of 10 (93%) Canadians believe Canada needs a pan-Canadian strategy for seniors health care at home, hospitals, hospices and long-term facilities, the Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA) 2013 National Report Card on health issues has found.

In addition, an equal number believe a comprehensive strategy for seniors health care would improve the entire system by keeping elderly Canadians at home as long as possible, thereby lightening the load on hospitals and long-term care facilities, the Ipsos Reid poll found.

Nine out of 10 respondents (89%) believe a national strategy for seniors should involve federal, provincial, territorial and municipal levels of government. And four in five (78%) believe the federal government has an important role to play in developing the strategy.

Research shows that it costs $126 a day to provide care for a patient in a long-term care facility, versus $842 a day in a hospital. Of course, making it easier for elderly Canadians to stay at home while getting the care they need would be the preferred and most cost-effective option.

“The results of this year’s CMA report card send a clear and direct message to policy-makers and public office holders that all levels of government need to act to address the demographic tsunami that is heading toward the health care system,’’ said CMA President Dr. Anna Reid.

Just four out of 10 (41%) believe hospitals and long-term care facilities can handle the needs of seniors in their area who will not be able to stay at home. The same proportion of Canadians says they are confident in the current health system’s ability to serve Canada’s aging population.

The poll, conducted between July 17 and July 26 by phone with 1,000 Canadians 18 and over, found that four in five (83%) Canadians thought their health care in retirement years was a concern.

Seventy-nine per cent were concerned about having access to a high quality acute care system, while 77% were concerned about access to high quality home care and long-term care.

The results show a majority (63%) believe home and community care should be the most important focus for governments when improving health care quality for senior citizens.

“The anxiety Canadians have about health care in their so-called golden years is both real and well-founded,” Dr. Reid added. “Let there be no doubt that a national strategy for seniors health care should be a federal priority.”

The poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points plus or minus at a 95% confidence level.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing more than 78,000 of Canada’s physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 51 national medical organizations. CMA’s mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care.

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For more information:

Lucie Boileau
Senior Advisor, Communications and Public Outreach
613 731-8610 | 800-663-7336 ext. 1266
Aug 17-21: 403-662-7611 Cell: 613.447.0866
[email protected]

Dominique Jolicoeur
Communications Officer
613 731-8610 | 800-663-7336 ext. 2038
Aug 11-15: 403-662-7611 Cell: 613.809-5669
[email protected]