Canadian and Albertan dementia strategies have now been announced. The national “Bill C-233: National Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Act” received final Royal Assent in June 2017. Alberta launched its “Provincial Dementia Strategy and Action Plan” on December 19th, 2017.
1. Canadian Strategy
1.1 Alzheimer Society of Canada
The Alzheimer Society has released two reports that provide guidance for the development of a national strategy for dementia:
- The Canadian Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Partnership: Strategic Objectives.
- Improving Dementia Care Worldwide: Ideas and Advice on Developing and Implementing a National Dementia Program.
1.2 Canadian Senate
The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology released its report “Dementia in Canada: A National Strategy for Dementia-friendly Communities” in November 2016. As indicated in the report, Canada is “one of only two G7 countries (including Germany) that do not have a comprehensive national dementia strategy”. The report provides 29 wide-ranging recommendations to address this urgent issue. It also refers to the above two reports prepared by the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
1.3 Canadian Parliament
Since the release of the Senate report, Bill C-233: National Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Act received final Royal Assent in June 2017. The implications of the act is summarized in a communication by the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Details of the act’s implementation remain somewhat unclear and will likely depend on the release of individual strategies by provinces, who are ultimately responsible for the delivery of health care services. The act indicates that:
“The Minister must, within 180 days after the day on which this Act comes into force, convene a conference with representatives of the provincial and territorial governments responsible for public health, basic and clinical researchers, family caregivers, health care professionals and other care providers, people suffering from dementia as well as representatives from the lay advocacy sector, the Alzheimer Society of Canada, other Alzheimer advocacy groups, and other dementia advocacy groups, for the purpose of developing the national strategy referred to in subsection (1).”
2. Albertan Strategy
- “That Albertans understand the impact of dementia and actively work towards optimal brain health.
- That Albertans living with dementia and their caregivers are supported in their communities.
- Timely recognition, diagnosis and clinical management through primary health care, supported by specialist services.
- Timely, accessible, integrated and high-quality dementia care and services.”
It will of course take some time for the national and provincial strategies to be implemented and provide relief to people with dementia and their caregivers. The Canadian Act provides the following reporting requirements to help expedite its successful implementation:
“Within two years of the coming into force of this Act, and every year after that, the Minister must prepare a report on the effectiveness of the national strategy, setting out his or her conclusions and recommendations regarding the strategy, including which national objectives
should be given priority, and cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after the report is completed.”