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Policy Briefing: Canada’s Aging Society
The death of Sophocles, a scribe recording his dying words. Engraving by S. Pomarede, 1748. Image courtesy of Iconographic Collections

Elephant in the room: we need a shift the way we perceive death and dying

Opinion|Vanessa Taler
Palliative care aims to affirm life, and regards dying as a normal process. As a society, we still resist this truth.
Feature|Denis Calnan
'It's lacking in basically every province. There’s an inadequate approach to standardizing the profession of home-care service delivery,' says University of British Columbia professor Steve Morgan.
Treasury Board President Scott Brison says there’s ‘a lot of work to be done’ and ‘I’m not going to overstate the progress we’ve made in a few months.’
While an amendment to the preamble added a commitment to 'working with provinces, territories and civil society to facilitate access to palliative and end-of-life care,' this falls far short of a commitment to funding palliative care services or the establishment of a national strategy on end of life care.
Imagine if Canada’s health-care system budgeted $55 per day for multi-disciplinary care for each and every qualifying patient.
We need to develop a comprehensive dementia strategy. Within 25 years, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia could reach 1.3 million and will have the highest economic, social, and health costs of all diseases in Canada.
Feature|Denis Calnan
'Canadian pharmacare, in some sense, looks very very much like the U.S. medicare,' says Steve Morgan from the University of British Columbia.
If we really want to be prepared for the care needs of our aging population, we need to get better at addressing the health workforce foundation of our care system.
Testifying before the Senate committee-of-the-whole last week, Health Minister Jane Philpott said it is ‘not acceptable’ that as little as 10 to 15 per cent of Canadians currently have access to high-quality palliative care. With the physician-assisted dying bill nearing passage, the Canadian Medical Association agrees that attention should turn to end-of-life care.
Staffing level is the most critical issue in providing quality care.
We need an integrated system of care delivery for older adults which increases the quality and continuity of care and has the potential to reduce costs and enhance the sustainability of the health care system for all Canadians.

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