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Quebec Is Failing To Meet Essential Needs Of People Living With Arthritis

 People living with arthritis are unable to access the complementary health services they need to cope with the challenges of living with a chronic disease. As a result, more Quebeckers than ever are being driven from the workforce by complications of their disease, or are having to reduce the number of hours they work. The Arthritis Society is asking all parties running for election to commit to implementing a practical solution to increase residents’ access to allied healthcare professionals regardless of their personal financial circumstances.

The Arthritis Society invites people concerned with arthritis conditions and access to complementary care to take action and participate in its advocacy campaign by visiting and sharing our web page www.arthritis.ca/votearthritisQC.

Why insist on complementary care?

Arthritis doesn’t just affect your joints – it impacts your overall quality of life. Medication may help reduce inflammation in your joints, but research supports what common sense tells us: that patients need more than just medication to cope with the challenges of living with a chronic disease.

Julie Grenier has been living with chronic pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 28. The disease has completely changed her life. In addition to the obvious pain, arthritis has brought on a constant fear for the future. The young woman takes medication to manage her symptoms, but also needs complementary care to help her ease her pain. She is paying for these complementary services out of her own pocket since she is not covered by private insurance. ”I haven’t had access to any of these treatments in the past months, because my finances won’t allow it”, Julie says.

Having full access to an integrated team of allied healthcare professionals is every bit as essential as medication, and can empower patients with supplemental treatments, education and the opportunity to develop a social network of support, helping them cope with the full range of arthritis symptoms and the impacts the disease has on life and finances. Julie admits: “Since being diagnosed with arthritis, I have had to deal with significant loss of income at various times, which has made it harder to receive the care I need.”

A lack of access

A study commissioned by the Arthritis Society highlights the access gaps which currently exist and their impacts on those living with arthritis. It also proposes a more holistic approach to complementary care in hospital and front-line settings. Our current system is limited by the small number of specialized allied healthcare professionals available in hospital, and the subsequent small number of patients they can support. Patients are therefore required to take on the financial burden of having to seek these services outside of the healthcare system. Limitations in private drug plans and lack of personal financial resources often force people to forego or abandon these essential healthcare services and eventually lead to reduced working capacity and increased burdens on society. Access to allied healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychological services is just as important as access to medication in the proper disease management of arthritis.

The Arthritis Society has presented the findings of this study to each of the political parties as well as every member of the Quebec National Assembly. We asked each of the parties to help remedy this situation by committing to increasing Quebeckers’ access to allied healthcare professionals regardless of their personal financial circumstances in the first year of their mandate.

By taking these steps, Quebec can help ensure that arthritis patients receive timely, affordable access to the full breadth of care they both need and deserve.

About the Arthritis Society

The Arthritis Society is a national health charity, fueled by donors and volunteers, with a vision to live in a world where people are free from the devastating effects that arthritis has on lives. Begun in 1948 with one very clear goal – to alleviate the suffering of people crippled by arthritis. Today, that same passion exists in communities across Canada. Through the trust and support of our donors and sponsors, the Arthritis Society is Canada’s largest charitable source of investment in cutting-edge arthritis research, and a leader in proactive advocacy and innovative solutions that will deliver better health outcomes for people affected by arthritis. The Arthritis Society is accredited under Imagine Canada’s Standards Program. For more information, to volunteer or to make a donation, visit arthritis.ca.

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For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Diane De Bonville
Tel: 514-846-8840 ext. 2433
Cel: 514-601-7697
Email: ddebonville@arthritis.ca

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