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cover irppstudy 2019 navigatinghealthandsocialservicesforoa''Canada’s aging population faces a harsh reality: growing numbers of older Canadians with chronic illnesses, disabilities and cognitive impairment are regularly discouraged by the efforts required to access and coordinate fragmented health and social care services. These challenges are often most profound for those who cannot rely on help from family members or friends, but they add greatly to caregivers’ burden as well. In this study, Laura Funk argues that navigation problems are rooted in the structures and operations of existing care systems, as well as the downloading of administrative and coordination tasks to individual patients and their families. In her view, navigation work must be transformed from a private struggle into a public responsibility. (...)

Although there has been an expansion of navigation supports in recent years, existing programs, whether provided by nonprofit organizations or by government agencies, are often specific to particular care-setting transitions, such as from hospital to home, or to people with particular health conditions, such as cancer or dementia. Availability varies greatly across regions and locations of care. A dedicated, comprehensive policy strategy is needed to reduce the navigation burden for broader patient and caregiver populations.

The author proposes a three-pronged patient-centered approach to alleviate navigation problems. It consists of improving service information, expanding public navigation programs and better integrating care services for older adults. Removing the navigation hurdles faced by older persons and their caregivers is key not only for improving their health and well-being but also for preventing exhaustion among caregivers and reducing inequities in service access. Doing so could also make it possible for older adults to remain at home longer if they wish to do so.''

Source: Institute for Research on Public Policy


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