4 things Islanders want from the national health summit

Health Ministers from across Canada will meet in Vancouver this week, talking about everything from drug costs to caring for the aging population — and some in P.E.I. will be watching closely for results.

'There are people in the community who are really neglected' says 89-year-old senior

Alberta Boswall wants the summit to result in more help for seniors. (Laura Meader/CBC )

Health ministers from across Canada will meet in Vancouver this week, talking about everything from drug costs to caring for the aging population — and some in P.E.I. will be watching closely for results.

On Jan. 20 and 21, provincial and territorial health ministers will meet with federal Health Minister Jane Philpott in Vancouver to work on the creation a new national health accord.

Robert HendersonP.E.I.'s health minister, will attend the meeting with his deputy, but wasn't available for an interview Tuesday. However, CBC News spoke with some people who are going to the summit, and some who aren't, to ask what they're eager to hear the ministers discuss.. 

1. Better senior care

Many Island health care advocates say with an aging population, governments need to act now to prepare for increasing demands on the system.

Alberta Boswall, 89, who lives in a community care home Whisperwood Villa in Charlottetown, says she's lucky she was able to save money to pay for her care, but she worries about others. 

"There are people in the community who are really neglected, either because they're not asking or there isn't the care available," said Boswall. 

2. A national drug plan

The P.E.I. Nurses Union will attend the Vancouver meetings as part of the Canadian Federation of Nurses. They say they're eager to see patients get a break on their medication costs. 
A national prescription drug plan is a priority for Mona O'Shea, president of the P.E.I. Nurses Union. (Laura Meader/CBC)

"Across Canada we would be looking for a national prescription drug plan," says Mona O'Shea, president of the P.E.I. Nurses' Union. 

"The Canadian government would buy, in bulk, prescription drugs, so therefore the cost of the medications would go down and the public would not have to pay so much for their medications," she explained. 

3. Improved dementia care

The Alzheimer Society on P.E.I. wrote a letter to provincial and federal health ministers asking them to consider improved care for people with dementia.  

"The economic cost in health dollars is huge and we need to think smartly and we need to be more effective and efficient with our health dollars," said Corrine Hendricken-Eldershaw, the Alzheimer Society's chief executive officer. 

People are ending up in hospitals or nursing homes when they could live at home with more help, she said. 
Corinne Hendricken-Eldershaw, of the Alzheimer Society, wants the ministers to improve care for patients with dementia. (Laura Meader/CBC)

4. Better home care 

Private home care company Bayshore Home Health agrees there should to be more focus on home care. 

"There are going to be so many stresses and strains on the home care system," said area director and registered nurse Mary McDonald.

"Whether it be respite care for Alzheimer clients or clinical support for palliative care for people who want to die at home, there's lots of opportunities for us to work in partnership with government," she said.

With files form Laura Meader


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