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The CMA goes to the Council of the Federation

Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers met in Whitehorse July 20-22 at the Council of the Federation annual meeting. A delegation from the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) was there to meet individually with premiers and hold some parallel events such as a public roundtable on seniors care and the upcoming Health Accord.

Dr. Rao Tadepalli, a Whitehorse family physician and CMA board member, moderated a panel that included Yukon Member of Parliament Larry Bagnell and CMA President Dr. Cindy Forbes.

The roundtable was attended by 40 people, including members of the public, physicians, Yukon NDP Leader Liz Hanson, government officials and several health care stakeholders.

Here are some of the things we learned from the attendees:

  • Long-term care is an issue in the Yukon. There needs to be a focus on seniors who need care on a 24-7 basis.
  • It may appear that there is adequate senior housing in the territories. But Yukon lacks assisted living support, including access to medical support and monitoring.
  • For seniors still living at home, there is a need for home care support that includes services such as grass cutting, snow removal, groceries and social engagement.
  • Oral health needs to be a bigger priority for seniors. There is mounting evidence that by reducing inflammation in the mouth:
  • blood sugars in diabetics can be stabilized;
  • the number of cases of aspiration pneumonia in hospitals and long-term care can be reduced;
  • cognitive function can be improved; and
  • symptoms of arthritis, heart disease, strokes and respiratory tract infections can be reduced.
  • Dental hygienists are asking that all health care professionals work together to promote oral health as a vital part of overall health as well as find ways to bring oral care directly to patients in their homes, in long-term care facilities, etc.

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