CEO, Canadian Frailty Network; Critical care physician, Kingston General Hospital; expert advisor, EvidenceNetwork.ca
John Muscedere is an advisor with EvidenceNetwork.ca, a critical care physician and the Scientific Director for the Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network, which is a non-for profit network funded by the National Centers on Excellence (NCE).
The beginning of a new year and the accompanying reflections of what the future holds is the perfect time to tell family and friends your healthcare preferences in case one day you are unable to speak for yourself. This is called advance care planning and it is good to do for your peace of mind and for your loved ones too.
Seniors are the most significantly affected. In Canada, seniors represent 15 per cent of our population, yet account for up to 40 per cent of all influenza infections, the majority of all hospitalizations and deaths from influenza. Why? Because seniors are more likely to be frail and have chronic medical conditions that put them at high risk for influenza and its complications.
Of the $220 billion spent on health care annually in Canada, 45 per cent is spent on those over 65 years old, although they only represent 15 per cent of the population. It's time we improved the quality and quantity of care delivered for frail Canadians - and improve the health system for everyone in the process.
In a country as diverse and varied as Canada, such a per capita funding model creates winners and losers. For provinces with flourishing economies and/or younger populations, the formula may be a welcome one. But for many provinces and territories, this funding formula fails to recognize and accommodate their particular challenges and needs.
Using non-beneficial medications or failing to offer comfort medications to chronically ill patients is potentially harmful, time-consuming and simply bad medical care. Unnecessary or unwarranted medical interventions, including medications, are also costly to the healthcare system. It's time to embrace new ways of thinking.