Family Caregivers: A Vital Part of Caring for Vulnerable Populations

OTTAWA, November 17, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian Caregiver Coalition (CCC), on behalf of the five (5) million family caregivers in this country, applauds the work of the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care. This non-partisan group released its final report, Not To Be Forgotten: Care Of Vulnerable Canadians, today with a comprehensive list of recommendations to improve care for vulnerable Canadians.

Throughout the report, family caregivers emerge as vital to the health care system as they support individuals to remain at home. The Canadian Caregivers Coalition is pleased with the Committee's recommendations that address the financial challenges facing families. "Financial measures for those who must take time off work is a critical component of effective strategy to support family caregivers", said Nadine Henningsen, CCC President.

The intensity and length of caregiving can be significant, with 60% of caregivers providing care for more than three years. Additionally, 41% of Canadians use personal savings to support themselves when caring for loved ones and 22% of these individuals miss one or more months of work.

The CCC believes that there are additional actions that can be taken by all levels of government and sectors of society to support family caregivers, which is expressed in the CCC's Caregiving Strategy. The Strategy describes how Canadians can collectively and individually take measures to support family caregivers, providing them the safety net they require in demanding circumstances. The CCC's Caregiving Strategy includes the following elements:

...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 obligations

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

The CCC commits to working with all stakeholders to realizing the recommendations to support family caregivers envisioned in by the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care and will continue to champion the adoption of a Caregiving Strategy in Canada.

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 Caregiver 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.