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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Family - the invisible backbone of the health care system

Nadine Henningsen is the Executive Director of the Canadian Home Care Association.

Home is the place that in so many ways defines who we are; it is, in the words of the Pulitzer prize winning journalist John Ed Pearce “...a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.“ How true this is, especially when we think about aging and how we want to live out our lives – independently and with dignity; surrounded by our loved ones in the comfort of our home. Thanks to the great strides made in the development and growth of home care programs across Canada, this vision is very much a reality.

The aging process inevitably brings both physical and mental challenges as one must often deal with a number of chronic diseases as well as complex emotional situations such as the death of a spouse or loved one. Although publicly funded home care programs are essential to providing vital clinical and social supports to seniors, an integral part of aging at home is the involvement of family caregivers. Family caregivers – a spouse, children, siblings and even friends and neighbours - are the invisible backbone of the health care system. Without family caregivers, receiving care in the home would not be a viable option.

Congratulations to Health Council of Canada for their recognition and sound recommendations for both home care and family caregivers. We look forward to working with the Council and governments across Canada to advance home care as a vital component of an integrated health care system that is responsive to all Canadians.


  1. Nadine Henningsen and the Canadian Home Care Association have managed, in a few short paragraphs, to very succinctly convey how vital both home care programs and family caregivers are to the sustainability of our Canadian health care system. I have seen first hand the importance and recuperative value of being able to stay in one's home, whether it be after a major health event or simply a daily struggle with chronic conditions. Without the commitment of family caregivers this would not be an option for so many people. I applaud both the Health Council of Canada for their recognition of the importance of the family caregiver and the Canadian Home Care Association for their continued advocacy of both home care and family caregivers.
    D. McDonnell

  2. Kudos to the Canadian Home Care Association and the Health Council of Canada for recognizing how vitally important family care givers and home care are to the health care of Canadians, young and old. It is more than comforting to know that these two high profile organizations are working to advance home care as an important part of health care.

    Canadian Senior

  3. Very real! Shout out to all my fellow caregivers for the young and the old! You are appreciated and loved!

  4. Universal health care can be implemented in several ways. In some countries the government directly manages the health care system. This is usually called socialized medicine. In most countries universal coverage is achieved by a mix of public and private funding. Taxation is the primary source of funding but is supplemented by private payor arrangements.