Patients resort to paying consultants to help navigate Canada’s Byzantine health-care system

0 February 17, 2016

By Dr. Brian Goldman breast cancer care Heather Williams, right, sits with Dr. Ardythe Taylor, founder of Breast Cancer Support Care. (Colleen Underwood/CBC ) Cancer, diabetes and back pain are just some of the most common chronic conditions facing Canadians. For patients, knowing how and where to get help can be a mystery. There’s a new type of health care worker who just might save patients some aggravation and the system a lot of money. They’re called patient advocates. Some have clinical backgrounds. Among the small but growing number of patient advocates are retired physicians as well as nurses. Some have no clinical training whatsoever, learning case by case how to advocate for patients. In that sense, they’re like the smart family member or friend who helps the patient to navigate through a complex choice of treatments, and gains knowledge and experience as they go. I have met advocates who started out helping their parents chart a course through the system, got good at it, and turned that expertise into a business advocating for others. Patient advocates work for private companies with names like Nurse-On-Board based in Ottawa and Integrity Health Consultants based in Toronto. In general, they work outside the publicly funded provincial health care system. That means you pay as you go for their services. Depending on the problem, you might need anything from an hour app

Posted in Post by jana
0 April 30, 2015

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For many teenagers, taking on the responsibility of caring for an adult may seem unimaginable, especially when that adult is a parent.

 

But when she was 14, Claire Poirier of Toronto says she had to quickly step into the role of caregiver for her mother, Jane Holland-Poirier, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

 

“When we would cross the street I would have to hold her hand. When we would be out in public I would have to say, ‘Jane, walk this way,'”Poirier said. “I wanted her to be safe.”

 

Now, seven years later, Poirier is dedicated to educating young people about Alzheimer’s disease.

 

 

At 54, her mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzhe

Posted in Post by jana
0 April 30, 2015

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Newsflash to the health bureaucracies — we boomers are aging, albeit as gracefully as possible, but the bottom line is that we will be placing increased demands on health services.

 

Is the system ready for this massive intake of elderly seniors? No. I don’t think so.

 

From the outside looking in, it would appear that unless you are at death’s door or meet certain strict criteria, the help you need just isn’t there. You’re on your own, struggling physically and financially to cope.

 

And even if you are fortunate enough to access some at-home care, the workers don’t always show up, leaving the bed-bound patient and family in great difficulty.

When I worked in the education system, there was a reluctance to identify a child with special educational needs, as then the schools had to do something about it, and this cost money.

 

Likewise, health agencies seem to have a similar “head-in-sand” approach. If we don’t see it or acknowledge it, it’s not happening. But guess what, it is and it’s time for change because in fact by ignoring it, we put more strain on health costs.

 

Right now the strategy seems to be to make it as difficult as possible for families to navigate the

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