Doctors Calling on Government in Order to Improve Dementia Care in Ontario

Less than a week ago, a report was released which focused on a recommended province-wide dementia care strategy. The goal is to improve care, while improving the Ontario healthcare system’s ability to meet the demands of both patients and their caregivers.

Dementia Will Dramatically Affect Canadian Society in Coming Years

It’s no secret that the number of people with dementia is continuously climbing, not just in Canada, but across the globe. Urgent attention is required, so that a plan of action can be implemented sooner, rather than later. It’s essential that interventions are made now, before dementia cases rise significantly.

Both the Alzheimer’s Society and RiskAnalytica paired up in order to complete an intensive two-year study back in 2010. Within their final report, they focused on both the economic and social costs associated with dementia over the next 30 years. They made five distinct recommendations:

  1. Accelerated investment in dementia research
  1. Recognition regarding the importance of caregivers
  1. Increased recognition in terms of early intervention and prevention
  1. A focus on increased use of chronic disease prevention and management, improving care
  1. Greater support for Canada’s dementia workforce

Since then, not much has changed in terms of the big picture. Now, Ontario doctors are voicing their concerns. Other provinces are also feeling the pressure.

Most Recent Report – Ontario Doctors Are Concerned

As mentioned, Ontario doctors called out to the government in order to improve the current situation in terms of dementia support and care. The President of the Ontario Medical Association, stated that both patients and caregivers need the government’s assistance.

All three parties need to work together, alongside healthcare providers, offering better medical care and support services. A dementia diagnosis sets a long, isolating road into motion for far too many Canadians. This progressive and fatal disease, increases psychological, emotional, and physical stress for both the patients and their caregivers.

This new report, titled Ontario Physicians Supporting Patients with Dementia — A Call for an Ontario Dementia Strategy, focuses on the rising rates of this condition. By 2020, it’s estimated that approximately 250,000 seniors in Ontario alone, will be living with dementia.

The Ontario healthcare system will be placed under immense stress, unless action is taken now. At this current point in time, there isn’t a solid approach that ensures the level of care both patients and caregivers require. In many cases, caregivers are elderly partners or other family members, which is causing immense mental and physical strain on their own personal health.

In fact, it’s believed that 25 percent of caregivers also suffer from two or more chronic health conditions themselves. Doctors in Ontario focused on key beneficial strategies, that could make a substantial positive impact on the dementia community, as well as Ontario’s overall healthcare. These included, but were not limited to:

  • Greater education — what are the symptoms? More Canadians need to understand what to look for in terms of an early diagnosis.
  • Timely medical care, as well as supportive care.
  • Increasing patients’ access to home care and community services, as well as respite care. Funding professional caregivers, will allow informal caregivers to experience relief.
  • Increased specialized long-term care for individuals who are specifically living with dementia.

The main focus is improving the quality of life for both patients of dementia and their caregivers. Supporting the relationship between patients and physicians is key, as underlying conditions can be addressed and properly managed. For instance, those with dementia who also suffer from hypertension and diabetes, require medical support and follow-up care.

For more detailed information, you can read the policy paper in its entirety here.

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