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Avoiding negative consequences to health care delivery from federal taxation policy

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy11957

Date
2016-08-31
Topics
Health human resources
Physician practice/ compensation/ forms
  1 document  
Policy Type
Response to consultation
Date
2016-08-31
Topics
Health human resources
Physician practice/ compensation/ forms
Text
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) provides this submission in response to Finance Canada’s consultation on Legislative Proposals Relating to Income Tax, Sales Tax and Excise Duties (Draft Tax Legislative Proposals). The CMA is the national voice of Canadian physicians. On behalf of its more than 83,000 members and the Canadian public, the CMA’s mission is helping physicians care for patients. In fulfillment of this mission, the CMA’s role is focused on national, pan-Canadian health advocacy and policy priorities. As detailed in this brief, the CMA is gravely concerned that by capturing group medical structures in the application of Clause 13 of the Draft Tax Legislative Proposals, the federal government will inadvertently negatively affect medical research, medical training and education as well as access to care. To ensure that the unintended consequences of this federal tax policy change do not occur, the CMA is strongly recommending that the federal government exempt group medical and health care delivery from the proposed changes to s.125 of the Income Tax Act regarding multiplication of access to the small business deduction in Clause 13 of the Draft Tax Legislative Proposals. Relevance of the Canadian Controlled Private Corporation Framework to Medical Practice Canada’s physicians are highly skilled professionals, providing an important public service and making a significant contribution to our country’s knowledge economy. Due to the design of Canada’s health care system, a large majority of physicians – more than 90% – are self-employed professionals and effectively small business owners. As self-employed small business owners, physicians typically do not have access to pensions or health benefits, although they are responsible for these benefits for their employees. Access to the Canadian-Controlled Private Corporation (CCPC) framework and the Small Business Deduction (SBD) are integral to managing a medical practice in Canada. It is imperative to recognize that physicians cannot pass on any increased costs, such as changes to CCPC framework and access to the SBD, onto patients, as other businesses would do with clients. In light of the unique business perspectives of medical practice, the CMA strongly welcomed the federal recognition in the 2016 budget of the value that health care professionals deliver to communities across Canada as small business operators. Contrary to this recognition, the 2016 budget also introduced a proposal to alter eligibility to the small business deduction that will impact physicians incorporated in group medical structures. What’s at risk: Contribution of group medical structures to health care delivery The CMA estimates that approximately 10,000 to 15,000 physicians will be affected by this federal taxation proposal. If implemented, this federal taxation measure will negatively affect group medical structures in communities across Canada. By capturing group medical structures, this proposal also introduces an inequity amongst incorporated physicians, and incentivizes solo practice, which counters provincial and territorial health delivery priorities. Group medical structures are prevalent within academic health science centres and amongst certain specialties, notably oncology, anaesthesiology, radiology, and cardiology. Specialist care has become increasingly sub-specialized. For many specialties, it is now standard practice for this care to be provided by teams composed of numerous specialists, sub-specialists and allied health care providers. Team-based care is essential for educating and training medical students and residents in teaching hospitals, and for conducting medical research. Put simply, group medical structures have not been formed for taxation or commercial purposes. Rather, group medical structures were formed to deliver provincial and territorial health priorities, primarily in the academic health setting, such as teaching, medical research as well as optimizing the delivery of patient care. Over many years, and even decades, provincial and territorial governments have been supporting and encouraging the delivery of care through team-based models. To be clear, group medical structures were formed to meet health sector priorities; they were not formed for business purposes. It is equally important to recognize that group medical structures differ in purpose and function from similar corporate or partnership structures seen in other professions. Unlike most other professionals, physicians do not form these structures for the purpose of enhancing their ability to earn profit. It is critical for Finance Canada to acknowledge that altering eligibility to the small business deduction will have more significant taxation implication than simply the 4.5% difference in the small business versus general rate at the federal level. It would be disingenuous for Finance Canada to attempt to argue that removing full access to the small business deduction for incorporated physicians in group medical structures will be a minor taxation increase. As taxation policy experts, Finance Canada is aware that this change will impact provincial/territorial taxation, as demonstrated below in Table 1. Table 1: Taxation impacts by province/territory, if the federal taxation proposal is implemented In Nova Scotia, for example, approximately 60% of specialist physicians practice in group medical structures. If the federal government applies this taxation proposal to group medical structures, these physicians will face an immediate 17.5% increase in taxation. In doing so, the federal government will establish a strong incentive for these physicians to move away from team-based practice to solo practice. If this comes to pass, the federal government may be responsible for triggering a reorganization of medical practice in Nova Scotia. Excerpts from physician communiques The CMA has received as well as been copied on a significant volume of correspondence from across our membership conveying deep concern with the federal taxation proposal. To provide an illustration of the risks of this proposal to health care, below are excerpts from some of these communiques:
“Our Partnership was formed in the 1970s…The mission of the Partnership is to achieve excellence in patient care, education and research activities….there would be a serious adverse effect on retention and recruitment if members do not have access to the full small business deduction…The changes will likely result in pressure to dissolve the partnership and revert to the era of departments services by independent contractors with competing individual financial interests.” Submitted to the CMA April 15, 2016 from a member of the Anesthesia Associates of the Ottawa Hospital General Campus
“The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is an academic health care institution dedicated to patient care, research and medical education…To support what we call our “academic mission,” cardiologists at the institute have formed an academic partnership…If these [taxation] changes go forward they will crippled the ability of groups such as ours to continue to function and will have a dramatic negative impact on medical education, innovative health care research, and the provision of high-quality patient care to our sickest patients.” Submitted to the CMA April 19, 2016 from a member of the Associates in Cardiology
“We are a general partnership consisting of 93 partners all of whom are academic anesthesiologists with appointments to the Faculty of the University of Toronto and with clinical appointments at the University Health Network, Sinai Health System or Women’s College Hospital…In contrast to traditional business partnerships, we glean no business advantage whatsoever from being in a partnership…the proposed legislation in Budget 2016 seems unfair in that it will add another financial hardship to our partners – in our view, this is a regressive tax on research, teaching and innovation.” Submitted to the CMA April 14, 2016 from members of the UHN-MSH Anesthesia Associates Recommendation The CMA recommends that the federal government exempt group medical and health care delivery from the proposed changes to s.125 of the Income Tax Act regarding multiplication of access to the small business deduction, as proposed in Clause 13 of the Draft Tax Legislative Proposals. Below is a proposed legislative amendment to ensure group medical structures are exempted from Clause 13 of the Draft Tax Legislative Proposals: Section 125 of the Act is amended by adding the following after proposed subsection 125(9): 125(10) Interpretation of designated member – [group medical partnership] – For purposes of this section, in determining whether a Canadian-controlled private corporation controlled directly or indirectly in any manner whatever by one or more physicians or a person that does not deal at arm's length with a physician is a designated member of a particular partnership in a taxation year, the term "particular partnership" shall not include any partnership that is a group medical partnership. 125(11) Interpretation of specified corporate income – [group medical corporation] – For purposes of this section, in determining the specified corporate income for a taxation year of a corporation controlled directly or indirectly in any manner whatever by one or more physicians or a person that does not deal at arm's length with a physician, the term "private corporation" shall not include a group medical corporation. Subsection 125(7) of the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order: "group medical partnership" means a partnership that: (a) is controlled, directly or indirectly in any manner whatever, by one or more physicians or a person that does not deal at arm's length with a physician; and (b) earns all or substantially all of its income for the year from an active business of providing services or property to, or in relation to, a medical practice; "group medical corporation" means a corporation that: (a) is controlled, directly or indirectly in any manner whatever, by one or more physicians or a person that does not deal at arm's length with a physician; and (b) earns all or substantially all of its income for the year from an active business of providing services or property to, or in relation to, a medical practice. "medical practice" means any practice and authorized acts of a physician as defined in provincial or territorial legislation or regulations and any activities in relation to, or incidental to, such practice and authorized acts; "physician" means a health care practitioner duly licensed with a provincial or territorial medical regulatory authority and actively engaged in practice;

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Canada’s child and youth health charter

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy10327

Last Reviewed
2018-03-03
Date
2007-05-29
Topics
Population health/ health equity/ public health
  1 document  
Policy Type
Policy endorsement
Last Reviewed
2018-03-03
Date
2007-05-29
Topics
Population health/ health equity/ public health
Text
CHILD AND YOUTH HEALTH IN CANADA THEIR CHARTER — OUR CHALLENGE “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children.” Nelson Mandela “One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.” Chinese Proverb Children and youth have always been a priority for the doctors of Canada — the Child and Youth Health Initiative of the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Paediatric Society and the College of Family Physicians of Canada is evidence of that. We three organizations joined together in November 2006 to launch the Child and Youth Health Initiative. In September 2004, Canada’s first ministers committed to “improving the health status of Canadians through a collaborative process.” This led to an agreement on health goals for Canada. The first of them is “Our children reach their full potential, growing up happy, healthy, confident and secure.” At the international level, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out the wider rights of all children and young people, including the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. We now owe it to our children and youth to develop tangible health goals and targets. From the outset of the partnership, we were acutely aware that only a broad societal coalition could achieve the overarching goal of excellence in child and youth health in Canada. Making the health of children and youth a national priority requires a coalition of child and youth health champions, including governments, parents, health providers, businesses, schools, teachers and communities. To start that process, we created Canada’s Child and Youth Health Charter. An action framework was then developed called Canada’s Child and Youth Health Challenge because a charter alone will not deliver on the vision of the children and youth of Canada being among the healthiest in the world. Together, we believe they will help to build a coalition of child and youth health champions because they give the people who can make a difference in children and youth health a rallying point. The credibility and success of the Charter and the Challenge require broad, inclusive consultation and a commitment to child and youth health from society at large. The Child and Youth Health Summit, held April 25-26, 2007, was about consultation and commitment to making a difference to the health and well-being of children and youth. This document contains Canada’s Child and Youth Health Charter, which was one of the focuses of the summit. Canada’s Child and Youth Health Challenge and Canada’s Child and Youth Health Declaration, are the other components of our commitment and promise to take action for the children of Canada. These documents can be found at www.ourchildren.ca. Canada’s Child and Youth Health Charter In 2005, Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments created pan-Canadian health goals. The first of them is “Canada is a country where: Our children reach their full potential, growing up happy, healthy, confident and secure.” To reach their potential, children and youth need to grow up in a place where they can thrive — spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and intellectually — and get high-quality health care when they need it. That place must have three fundamental elements: a safe and secure environment; good health and development; and a full range of health resources available to all. Children and youth of distinct populations in Canada, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis, must be offered equal opportunities as other Canadian children and youth through culturally relevant resources. Canada must become: 1. A place with a safe and secure environment: a) Clean water, air and soil; b) Protection from injury, exploitation and discrimination; and c) Healthy family, homes and communities. 2. A place where children and youth can have good health and development: a) Prenatal and maternal care for the best possible health at birth; b) Nutrition for proper growth, development and long-term health; c) Early learning opportunities and high-quality care, at home and in the community; d) Opportunities and encouragement for physical activity; e) High-quality primary and secondary education; f) Affordable and available post-secondary education; and g) A commitment to social well-being and mental health. 3. A place where a full range of health resources is available: a) Basic health care including immunization, drugs and dental health; b) Mental health care and early help programs for children and youth; c) Timely access to specialty diagnostic and health services; d) Measurement and tracking the health of children and youth; e) Research that focuses on the needs of children and youth; and f) Uninterrupted care as youth move to adult health services and between acute, chronic and community care, as well as between jurisdictions. NOTES 1. The principles of this charter apply to all children and youth in Canada regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, language, gender, physical ability, mental ability, cultural history, or life experience. 2. Principles enshrined in all the goal statements include: a. Universality: The charter applies equally to all children and youth residing in Canada and covers all children and youth from 0-18 years of age. b. Without financial burden: All children and youth in Canada should have access to required health care, health services and drugs regardless of ability to pay. c. Barrier-free access: All children and youth, regardless of ability or circumstance should have appropriate access to optimal health care and health services. d. Measurement and monitoring: Appropriate resources will be available for adequate ongoing collection of data on issues that affect child and youth health and development. e. Safe and secure communities: Communities in Canada must create an environment for children and youth to grow that is safe and secure. 3. The purpose of this charter is to facilitate development of specific goals, objectives, actions and advocacy that will measurably improve child and youth health throughout Canada. 4. Success will be identified as simple, measurable, achievable, and timely goals and objectives for each of the 16 statements in this charter. 5. The initial draft of this charter has been developed by Canada’s physicians focusing on what they can best do to improve child and youth health; however, the support and participation of all individuals and groups interested in child and youth health is encouraged and desired. 6. The primary audience for actions and advocacy arising from this charter will be governments, agencies or individuals who, by virtue of legislation, regulation or policy have the ability to effect change for children and youth. 7. This charter is not a legal document; it represents a commitment by champions of child and youth health in Canada to the health and well-being of all children and youth in Canada. Charter Endorsers The following organizations have endorsed the Child and Youth Health Charter, as of October 9, 2007. Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada Breakfast for Learning Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres Canadian Child and Youth Health Coalition Canadian Healthcare Association Canadian Institute of Child Health Canadian Medical Association Canadian Paediatric Society Canadian Pharmacists Association Canadian Psychological Association Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development Centre for Science in the Public Interest College of Family Physicians of Canada Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children's Rights Muttart Foundation National Alliance for Children and Youth National Anti-Poverty Organization Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association Paediatric Chairs of Canada Safe Kids Canada, The National Injury Prevention Program of The Hospital for Sick Children Silken's ActiveKids Movement and Silken and Company Productions The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

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Canada's Food Guide

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy13920

Date
2018-06-06
Topics
Population health/ health equity/ public health
  1 document  
Policy Type
Response to consultation
Date
2018-06-06
Topics
Population health/ health equity/ public health
Text
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is pleased to provide this submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health with respect to its study of Canada’s Food Guide. The CMA supports access to healthy foods to improve individual health and well-being and the overall health status of the population.1 1 Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Obesity in Canada: Causes, consequences and the way forward. Ottawa: CMA; 2015. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Briefpdf/BR2015-12.pdf (accessed 2018 Feb 5). 2 Colapinto C, Graham J, St. Pierre S. Trends and correlates of frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption, 2007 to 2014. Health Reports. 2018 January;29(1):9-14. Available: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2018001/article/54901-eng.pdf (accessed 2018 Feb 5). 3 Van Vliet B, Campbell N. Efforts to reduce sodium intake in Canada: Why, what, and when? Can J Cardiol. 2011;27(4):437–445. 4 Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Early childhood development. Ottawa: CMA; 2014. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Policypdf/PD15-03.pdf (accessed 2018 Feb 2). 5 Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Health equity and the social determinants of health: A role for the medical profession. Ottawa: CMA; 2013. Available http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Policypdf/PD13-03.pdf (accessed 2018 Jan 30). 6 Health Canada. Eating well with Canada’s food guide. Ottawa: Health Canada; 2007. Available: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/hc-sc/migration/hc-sc/fn-an/alt_formats/hpfb-dgpsa/pdf/food-guide-aliment/view_eatwell_vue_bienmang-eng.pdf (accessed 2018 Jan 30). 7 Collier R. Calls for a better food guide. CMAJ. 2018 November 18;186(17):1281. Available: https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.109-4911 (accessed 2018 Jan 30). 8 Ministry of Health of Brazil. Dietary guidelines for the Brazilian population. 2nd ed. Brazil: Ministry of Health of Brazil; 2014. Available: http://www.foodpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/Brazilian-Dietary-Guidelines-2014.pdf (accessed 2018 Feb 1). 9 Report of the Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. Obesity in Canada. A whole-of-society approach for a healthier Canada. Ottawa: Senate of Canada; 2016 March. Available: https://sencanada.ca/content/sen/committee/421/soci/rms/01mar16/Report-e.htm (accessed 2018 Feb 2). 10 Health Canada. Evidence review for dietary guidance: summary of results and implications for Canada’s food guide. Ottawa: Health Canada; 2015. Available: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/canada/health-canada/migration/publications/eating-nutrition/dietary-guidance-summary-resume-recommandations-alimentaires/alt/pub-eng.pdf (accessed 2018 Feb 2). 11 Government of Canada. Guiding principles [Canada’s food guide consultation]. Ottawa: Government of Canada; 2017 April 5. Available: https://www.foodguideconsultation.ca/guiding-principles-detailed (accessed 2018 Feb 5). The CMA has been active on nutritional issues for many years, both directly through its policy and government advocacy as well as through membership in various coalitions. Some of the issues addressed include the nutrition facts table, front-of-package labelling, a ban on the marketing of food and beverages to children younger than 16 years of age, and a levy on the manufacturers of sugar-sweetened beverages. Canadians’ self-reported dietary intakes do not meet national dietary recommendations despite public education efforts concerning healthy eating and healthy diets. Children and adults are consuming fewer than the recommended number of servings of vegetables and fruits, an established proxy for healthy eating habits, and they are exceeding daily recommended intakes of sodium.2,3 The protection of vulnerable populations including children is of paramount concern to the CMA. Access to nutritious food is essential in early childhood development in support of later adult health.4 The availability of food security programs is a key element in preventing children from developing dietary deficiencies that would lead to an increased risk of chronic disease and greater difficulty in disease management later in life.5 The Food Guide has historically been a valued resource for Canadians, and physicians have found it useful in counselling their patients about healthy eating. However, there are serious concerns with the present Food Guide,6 which was released in 2007, and physicians have increasingly called for it to be reviewed.7 Other countries have made significant changes to their dietary guidelines. Brazil, for example, has developed a guideline that incorporates simple-to-follow, common-sense messaging, such as encouraging Brazilians to prepare meals from scratch and promoting the value of family meals.8 A new, modern Canadian guide is needed. Witnesses appearing before the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology characterized the current version as being “at best ineffective, and at worst enabling, with respect to the rising levels of unhealthy weights and diet-related chronic diseases in Canada.”9 Health Canada is in the process of revising the Food Guide, having done an extensive review of the evidence10 and releasing Guiding Principles.11 Recommendations for a revised Food Guide A new approach to a food guide that addresses the larger picture, beyond daily nutrient consumption recommendations, is fundamental to the effort to improve the health of all Canadians and to the larger goal of developing a food policy for Canada. Indeed, “coordinated investments in health promotion and disease and injury prevention, including attention to the role of the social determinants of health, are critical to the future health and wellness of Canadians and to the viability of the health care system.”12 12 Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and Canadian Nurses Association (CNA). Principles for health care transformation in Canada. Ottawa: CMA and CNA; 2011. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Policypdf/PD1113.pdf (accessed 2018 Jan 30). 13 Nexus H. Primer to action: Social determinants of health. Toronto: Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance; 2007. Available: http://www.ocdpa.ca/sites/default/files/publications/PrimertoAction-EN.pdf (accessed 2018 Feb 1). 14 Tarasuk V, Mitchell A, Dachner N. Household food insecurity in Canada. Toronto: PROOF; 2016. Available: http://proof.utoronto.ca/resources/proof-annual-reports/annual-report-2014/ (accessed 2018 Feb 5). 15 Rao M, Afshin A, Singh G, et al. Do healthier foods and diet patterns cost more than less healthy options? A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open. 2013;3:e004277. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3855594/pdf/bmjopen-2013-004277.pdf (accessed 2018 Feb 5). 16Lee A, Mhurchu CN, Sacks G, et al. Monitoring the price and affordability of foods and diets globally. Obes Rev. 2013 Oct;14 Suppl 1:82–95. 17 Food Banks Canada. Hungercount2016: A comprehensive report on hunger and food bank use in Canada, and recommendations for change. Toronto: Food Banks Canada; 2016. Available: https://www.foodbankscanada.ca/hungercount2016 (accessed 2018 Jan 30). 18 Raine K. Improving nutritional health of the public through social change: Finding our roles in collective action. Can J Diet Pract Res. 2014;75(3):160-164. Available: https://doi.org/10.3148/cjdpr-2014-017 (accessed 2018 Feb 2). 19 Canadian Medical Association (CMA). CMA’s Support for Bill S-228: An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (prohibiting food and beverage marketing directed at children).Ottawa: CMA; 2017.Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Briefpdf/BR2017-07.pdf (accessed 2018 Feb 2). 20 Howard, C., Culbert I., Food Guide revamp encouraging plant-based, low-meat diet is good for people and the planet CBC February 11, 2018 Available: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/opinion-canada-food-guide-1.4530058 (accessed 2018 Feb 12) CMA recommendations: 1. The Food Guide must go hand in hand with efforts to increase access to affordable, healthy food Food insecurity does not affect all Canadians equally, and there are very clear social patterns of vulnerability.13 Analyses of population survey data consistently identify low income as a predictor of household food insecurity. In addition, rates of food insecurity are highest among Aboriginal Canadians, households reliant on social assistance, households headed by single mothers, and those renting rather than owning a home.14 More research is needed to understand decisions surrounding the purchase of healthy foods versus unhealthy foods.15,16 Food Banks Canada reported that in March 2016, 863,492 people received food from a food bank, an increase of 1.3% over 2015, with eight of 10 provinces showing an increase.17 As the report notes, “approximately 1.7 million Canadian households, encompassing 4 million people, experience food insecurity each year” with 340,000 of them experiencing severe food insecurity.17 Other determinants of healthy eating include a wide range of contextual factors, such as the interpersonal environment created by family and peers, the physical environment, which determines food availability and accessibility, the economic environment, in which food is a commodity to be marketed for profit, and the social environment. Within the social environment, social status (income, education and gender) and cultural milieu are determinants of healthy eating that may be working "invisibly" to structure food choice.15 2. The Food Guide must be based on sound nutritional research With unhealthy diets consistently linked with chronic disease such as cardiovascular diseases (heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia) and with an estimated 60% of Canadian adults and close to one-third of children being overweight or obese, there is a need for evidence-based approaches in the development of healthy eating policies and practices in Canada. As the links between nutrition and disease and other impacts of nutrition on the health of our society are revealed and better understood, it is more important than ever to identify what influences healthy eating behaviours.18 Food choices are structured by a variety of individual determinants of behaviour, including one's physiological state, food preferences, nutritional knowledge, perceptions of healthy eating and psychological factors. The Food Guide needs to incorporate emerging research on nutrition and health, for example, by emphasizing the need to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats, as opposed to focusing on total fats. It also must take into account the changes in consumer behaviour and in the food supply. 3. The Government of Canada must assure Canadians that the revision process is evidence based Canadians must be able to trust Canada’s Food Guide as a source of unbiased information, based on evidence. The Food Guide must be part of a larger coordinated approach that also looks at other critical issues, such as the role of the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children.19 CMA is concerned that conflict-of-interest situations have arisen in the past where recommendations might favour certain products or food groups over others.20 Canadians must have confidence that their health and wellness is the primary focus of an evidence-based revision process. 4. The Food Guide must reflect changing eating patterns reflective of our evolving and increasingly multicultural society Canadian society is more ethnically diverse than in the past, so it is necessary to keep in mind cultural preferences. The current food groups do not always take into account an understanding of traditional foods and cultural eating practices. These are intrinsically linked to identity and culture and contribute to overall health. Advice needs to be tailored to different ages and cultural groups. There is also a need to emphasize patterns of eating, as opposed to a focus almost exclusively on nutrient requirements. It is important to promote eating as a social undertaking, recognizing the essential role that food has in bringing people together. It is also important to support the development of basic, practical culinary skills, which will reduce Canadians’ dependence on restaurant meals and ultra-processed foods. 5. The Food Guide must encourage Canadians to reduce their reliance on processed foods The production and consumption of ultra-processed foods has increased drastically in the last decades in both higher and lower income countries. Highly or ultra-processed food tends to contain less protein and dietary fibre than less processed foods and include high proportions of free sugar, total saturated fat, trans fat and salt. Typically, processed foods are energy dense (high in calories) but have fewer beneficial nutrients such as vitamins and proteins. Most processed foods encourage unhealthy ways of eating and have become popular because of their accessibility and convenience. These features have changed the way food and in particular these products are consumed compared with unprocessed foods: increased “grazing,” eating alone or eating while carrying out other activities such as work or driving. In addition, many calories consumed come in liquid form. Physicians are concerned with the Food Guide’s support for fruit juices, given the plethora of sugar-sweetened beverages, including milk and milk alternatives. There should be a maximum amount of juice recommended for children, and the Food Guide should instead support the consumption of actual fruit. 6. The Government of Canada must produce simple, practical products for Canadians and clear dietary guidance for health professionals Reliable, trustworthy sources of information are essential to support healthy eating. However, the new Food Guide must not be just another set of rules and lists or a long, cumbersome document. The challenge will be to take the evidence around nutrition and health and make it meaningful and useful. This is the only way that the Food Guide will actually be able to support and even provoke change. To do that it must focus on the needs of the Canadians, with tools that personalize information for different age and cultural groups. It should also be useful to people with certain health conditions who require regulation of their diet to improve health (e.g., people with diabetes or hypertension). It should support couples during pregnancy and breastfeeding. There can’t be only one set of guidance; rather, various versions should be produced that are adapted to different audiences. The Food Guide needs to be practical and simple to use. The concept of the number and size of servings of different foods, for example, has been very confusing. Research has shown that Canadians do not weigh or measure their foods and serving sizes are often underestimated, promoting overconsumption. The Food Guide must support Canadians in deciphering food labels and making informed choices about what they consume. The use of technology will allow information to be more accessible. The guidance must be sensitive to issues related to the social determinants of health and food security, with attention to the cost and accessibility of foods. A focus on good sources of proteins, for example, as opposed to red meats and dairy, could allow for more choice. The Food Guide should provide guidance to food banks and other programs that seek to provide food to low-income families in terms of what foods they should procure for their clients. As one of the most trusted sources of health information, physicians also need to be able to access the latest evidence in a user-friendly manner. Resources must be succinct and easy for physicians to access in a busy practice. They should allow a physician to go into more depth should that be required. As well, point-of-care tools that help clinicians explain technical facts to their patients in an accessible manner are needed. Recommendations 1. The Food Guide must go hand in hand with efforts to increase access to affordable, healthy food 2. The Food Guide must be based on sound nutritional research 3. The Government of Canada must assure Canadians that the revision process is evidence based 4. The Food Guide must reflect changing eating patterns reflective of our evolving and increasingly multicultural society 5. The Food Guide must encourage Canadians to reduce their reliance on processed foods 6. The Government of Canada must produce simple, practical products for Canadians and clear dietary guidance for health professionals

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Clinical guideline for homeless and vulnerably housed people, and people with lived homelessness experience

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy14165

Date
2019-10-17
Topics
Health care and patient safety
Population health/ health equity/ public health
  1 document  
Policy Type
Policy endorsement
Date
2019-10-17
Topics
Health care and patient safety
Population health/ health equity/ public health
Text
Homeless and vulnerably housed populations are heterogeneous and continue to grow in numbers in urban and rural settings as forces of urbanization collide with gentrification and austerity policies.2 Collectively, they face dangerous living conditions and marginalization within health care systems.3 However, providers can improve the health of people who are homeless or vulnerably housed, most powerfully by following evidence-based initial steps, and working with communities and adopting anti-oppressive practices.1,4,5 Broadly speaking, “homelessness” encompasses all individuals without stable, permanent and acceptable housing, or lacking the immediate prospect, means and ability of acquiring it.6 Under such conditions, individuals and families face intersecting social, mental and physical health risks that significantly increase morbidity and mortality.7,8 For example, people who are homeless and vulnerably housed experience a significantly higher prevalence of trauma, mental health conditions and substance use disorders than the general population.7,9 Canadian research reports that people who experience homelessness face life expectancies as low as 42 years for men and 52 years for women.7 A generation ago, homeless Canadians were largely middleaged, single men in large urban settings.10 Today, the epidemiology has shifted to include higher proportions of women, youth, Indigenous people (Box 1), immigrants, older adults and people from rural communities.13,14 For example, family homelessness (and therefore homelessness among dependent children and youth) is a substantial, yet hidden, part of the crisis.15 In 2014, of the estimated 235 000 homeless people in Canada, 27.3% were women, 18.7% were youth, 6% were recent immigrants or migrants, and a growing number were veterans and seniors.10 Practice navigators, peer-support workers and primary care providers are well placed to identify social causes of poor health and provide orientation to patient medical homes.16,17 A patient’s medical home is “a family practice defined by its patients as the place they feel most comfortable presenting and discussing their personal and family health and medical concerns.”18 Medical care is “readily accessible, centred on the patients’ needs, provided throughout every stage of life, and seamlessly integrated with other services in the health care system and the community” (https://patientsmedicalhome.ca). Primary care providers are also well positioned to mobilize health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and rehabilitation services.19 GUIDELINE VULNERABLE POPULATIONS CPD Clinical guideline for homeless and vulnerably housed people, and people with lived homelessness experience Kevin Pottie MD MClSc, Claire E. Kendall MD PhD, Tim Aubry PhD, Olivia Magwood MPH, Anne Andermann MD DPhil, Ginetta Salvalaggio MD MSc, David Ponka MDCM MSc, Gary Bloch MD, Vanessa Brcic MD, Eric Agbata MPH MSc, Kednapa Thavorn PhD, Terry Hannigan, Andrew Bond MD, Susan Crouse MD, Ritika Goel MD, Esther Shoemaker PhD, Jean Zhuo Jing Wang BHSc, Sebastian Mott MSW, Harneel Kaur BHSc, Christine Mathew MSc, Syeda Shanza Hashmi BA, Ammar Saad, Thomas Piggott MD, Neil Arya MD, Nicole Kozloff MD, Michaela Beder MD, Dale Guenter MD MPH, Wendy Muckle BScN MHA, Stephen Hwang MD, Vicky Stergiopoulos MD, Peter Tugwell MD n Cite as: CMAJ 2020 March 9;192:E240-54. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.190777 CMAJ Podcasts: author interview at https://soundcloud.com/cmajpodcasts/190777-guide See related article at www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200199 KEY POINTS
Clinical assessment and care of homeless and vulnerably housed populations should include tailoring approaches to a person’s gender, age, Indigenous heritage, ethnicity and history of trauma; and advocacy for comprehensive primary health care.
As initial steps in the care of homeless and vulnerably housed populations, permanent supportive housing is strongly recommended, and income assistance is also recommended.
Case-management interventions, with access to psychiatric support, are recommended as an initial step to support primary care and to address existing mental health, substance use and other morbidities.
Harm-reduction interventions, such as supervised consumption facilities, and access to pharmacologic agents for opioid use disorder, such as opioid agonist treatment, are recommended for people who use substances. GUIDELINE CMAJ
MARCH 9, 2020
VOLUME 192
ISSUE 10 E241 However, the social and health resources available to homeless and vulnerably housed people may vary based on geographic setting, municipal resources, housing coordination, and patients’ mental health and substance use–related care needs. In addition, many physical and mental health disorders remain undiagnosed or inconsistently treated because of missed opportunities for care, patient mistrust of the health care system or limited access to health services.3 Homeless and vulnerably housed people can benefit from timely and effective health, addiction and social interventions. Our guideline provides initial steps for practice, policy and future research, and is intended to build collaboration among clinicians, public health providers and allied health providers. Values such as trauma-informed and patient-centred care, and dignity are needed to foster trust and develop sustainable therapeutic relationships with homeless and vulnerably housed people.20,21 Scope The purpose of this clinical practice guideline is to inform providers and community organizations of the initial priority steps and effective interventions for homeless and vulnerably housed people. The guideline addresses upstream social and health needs (i.e., housing), as well as downstream health-related consequences of inadequate housing. The target audiences are health providers, policymakers, public health practitioners and researchers. Our guideline does not aim to address all conditions associated with homelessness, nor does it aim to discuss in depth the many etiologies of homelessness, such as childhood trauma, the housing market, or the root causes of low social assistance rates and economic inequality. Rather, this guideline aims to reframe providers’ approach toward upstream interventions that can prevent, treat and work toward ending the morbidity and mortality associated with homelessness. A parallel set of Indigenous-specific clinical guidelines is currently being developed by an independent, Indigenous-led team.22 This process recognizes the distinct rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the right to develop and strengthen their own economies, social and political institutions; the direct links between historic and ongoing colonial policies and Indigenous homelessness; and the need for Indigenous leadership and participation in research that is about Indigenous Peoples. Recommendations The steering committee and guideline panel members developed and approved recommendations to improve social and health outcomes for homeless and vulnerably housed people. The order of these recommendations highlights priority steps for homeless health care. We list a summary of the recommendations in Table 1 and we present our list of good practice statements in Table 2. These good practice statements are based on indirect evidence and support the delivery of the recommendations. The methods used to develop the recommendations are described later in this document. A summary of how to use this guideline is available in Box 2. Permanent supportive housing
Identify homelessness or housing vulnerability and willingness to consider housing interventions.
Ensure access of homeless or vulnerably housed individuals to local housing coordinator or case manager (i.e., call 211 or via a social worker) for immediate link to permanent supportive housing and/or coordinated access system (moderate certainty, strong recommendation). Evidence summary Our systematic review (Tim Aubry, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont.: unpublished data, 2020) identified 14 trials on permanent supportive housing (PSH).30–43 Several trials across Canada and the United States showed that PSH initiatives house participants more rapidly compared with usual services (73 v. 220 d; adjusted absolute difference 146.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 118.0 to 174.9);30 increase the number of people who maintain stable housing at 2 years (pooled odds ratio [OR] 3.58, 95% CI 2.36 to 5.43);30,40 and significantly increase the percentage of days spent stably housed.41 No trials showed a significant improvement in mental health symptoms compared with standard care.30,31,33,34,41,42 Two studies found that the mental health of PSH participants did not improve as much as that of usual care participants (e.g., mean difference –0.49, 95% CI –0.85 to –0.12).30,31 The At Home/Chez Soi trial showed small improvements in quality of life for high-needs (adjusted standardized mean difference 0.15, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.24)30 and moderate-needs (mean difference 4.37, 95% CI 1.60 to 7.14) homeless participants in patients receiving PSH.41 Youth receiving PSH saw larger improvements in their quality of life during the first 6 months (mean difference 9.30, 95% CI 1.35 to 17.24), which diminished over time (mean difference 7.29, 95% CI –1.61 to 16.18).44 No trials showed a significant improvement in substance use compared with standard care.30,33,41–43 Most trials reported no effect of PSH on acute care outcomes (e.g., number of emergency department visits and percentage of participants admitted to hospital).30,41 However, 2 trials suggest that PSH participants had lower rates of hospital admission (rate reductions of 29%, 95% CI 10 to 44) and time in hospital (e.g., mean difference –31, 95% CI –48 to –14).34,38,45 One trial found no effect of PSH on job tenure, hours of work per week or hourly wage compared with standard care.46 Participants receiving PSH may have increased odds of employment, but this depends on the severity of participant needs.46 One trial found no effect on income outcomes.46 Box 1: Indigenous homelessness Indigenous homelessness is a term used to describe First Nations, Métis and Inuit individuals, families or communities who lack stable, permanent and appropriate housing, or the immediate prospects, means or ability to acquire such housing. However, this term must be interpreted through an Indigenous lens to understand the factors contributing to this condition. These factors include individuals, families and communities isolated from their relationships to land, water, place, family, kin, each other, animals, cultures, languages and identities as well as the legacy of colonialism and genocide.11 It is estimated that urban Indigenous people are 8 times more likely to experience homelessness than the general population.11,12 GUIDELINE E242 CMAJ
ISSUE 10 The certainty of the evidence was rated moderate, because blinding of participants and personnel was not feasible in any of the trials we examined as a result of the nature of the intervention. Furthermore, several trials did not employ allocation concealment or blinding of outcome-assessment procedures, which could introduce high risks of detection and performance biases. Income assistance
Identify income insecurity.
Assist individuals with income insecurity to identify incomesupport resources and access income (low certainty, conditional recommendation). Evidence summary We identified 10 trials on income-assistance interventions, including rental assistance,47–56 financial empowerment,47 social enterprise interventions,48 individual placement and support,48,54 and compensated work therapy.52 Our systematic review showed the benefit that income-assistance interventions have on housing stability (Gary Bloch, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont., and Vanessa Brcic, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC: unpublished data, 2020). Rental assistance increased the likelihood of being stably housed (OR 4.60, 95% CI 3.10 to 6.83).56 Rental assistance combined with case management increased the number of days in stable housing per 90-day period compared with case management alone (mean Table 1: Summary of evidence-based recommendations Recommendations and clinical considerations Grade rating* Recommendation 1: A homeless or vulnerably housed person Moderate certainty
Ensure access for homeless or vulnerably housed individuals to local housing coordinator or case manager (i.e., call 211 or via a social worker) for immediate link to permanent supportive housing and coordinated access system. Clinical considerations: Many jurisdictions will provide alternative housing services for specific marginalized populations, for example, Indigenous people, women and families, youth, those who identify as LGBTQ2+, those with disabilities, refugees and migrants. Strong recommendation Recommendation 2: A homeless or vulnerably housed person with experience of poverty, income instability or living in a low-income household Low certainty
Assist individuals with income insecurity to identify income-support resources and access income. Clinical considerations: Consult poverty screening tools when needed (e.g., https://cep.health/clinical-products /poverty-a-clinical-tool-for-primary-care-providers). Conditional recommendation Recommendation 3: A homeless or vulnerably housed person with multiple comorbid or complex health needs (including mental illness and/or substance use) Low certainty
Identify history of severe mental illness, such as psychotic or mood and anxiety disorders, associated with substantial disability, substance use, or multiple/complex health needs.
Ensure access to local community mental health programs, psychiatric services for assessment, and linkage to intensive case management, assertive community treatment or critical time intervention where available. Clinical considerations: Call 211 or consult primary care providers, social workers or case managers familiar with local access points and less intensive community mental health programs. Conditional recommendation Recommendation 4: A homeless or vulnerably housed person currently using opioids Very low certainty
Identify opioid use disorder.
Ensure access within primary care or via an addiction specialist to opioid agonist therapy (OAT), potentially in collaboration with a public health or community health centre for linkage to pharmacologic interventions. Clinical considerations: Encourage all patients taking opioid medication to have a naloxone kit. Though barriers to prescribing methadone and buprenorphine remain, be aware of new regulations that aim to facilitate OAT access and options in your jurisdiction, in particular for buprenorphine. Conditional recommendation Recommendation 5: A homeless or vulnerably housed person with substance use disorder Very low certainty
Identify, during history or physical examination, problematic substance use, including alcohol or other drugs.
Identify the most appropriate approach, or refer to local addiction and harm-reduction/prevention services (e.g., supervised consumption facilities, managed alcohol programs) via appropriate local resources such as public health or community health centre or local community services centre. Clinical considerations: In case of active opioid use disorder, facilitate patient access to OAT. Patients should be made aware of supervised consumption facility locations (Appendix 1, available at www.cmaj.ca/lookup/suppl/ doi:10.1503/cmaj.190777/-/DC1). Conditional recommendation Note: LGBTQ2+ = lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and two-spirited. *See Box 2 for definitions. †211 is a special abbreviated telephone number reserved in Canada and the United States as an easy-to-remember 3-digit telephone number meant to provide information and referrals to health, human and social service organizations. GUIDELINE CMAJ
ISSUE 10 E243 difference 8.58, p < 0.004).55 Compensated work therapy was found to reduce the odds of homelessness (OR 0.1, 95% CI 0.1 to 0.3).52 No income interventions showed an effect on mental health outcomes.47,52,55,56 The impact of these interventions on substance use outcomes were mixed. Provision of housing vouchers did not affect substance use over 3 years;55 however, compensated work therapy showed immediate reductions in drug (reduction: –44.7%, standard error [SE] 12.8%; p = 0.001) and alcohol use problems (–45.4%, SE 9.4%; p = 0.001), as well as the number of substance use–related physical symptoms (–64.4%, SE 8.0%; p = 0.001).52 These differences, however, tended to decline with time. No significant effects were found on overall quality-of-life, finances, health and social relations scores. Provision of housing vouchers resulted in higher family-relations score and satisfaction, and quality of housing compared with standard care.55 One trial reported that rental assistance was associated with reduced emergency department visits and time spent in hospital, but this reduction was not significantly different than in the comparator group.56 Individual placement and support was found to improve employment rates only when there was high fidelity to the model (OR 2.42, 95% CI 1.13 to 5.16).54 Financial-empowerment education and provision of housing vouchers had no effect on employment outcomes.47,55 Financial-empowerment education and individual placement and support had no effect on hourly wages.47,54 Provision of housing vouchers had no effect on monthly income.55 The certainty of the evidence was rated low because several trials introduced high risk of detection and performance bias. Furthermore, 1 trial reported low consent rates of 47% and a 1:4 sampling ratio that further limited statistical power.52 As well, participants in the control group wanting to enter income-assistance programs after completing the study had incentives to underreport symptoms, which introduced high risk for measurement bias. Case management
Identify history of severe mental illness, such as psychotic or mood and anxiety disorders, associated with substantial disability, substance use disorders, or multiple or complex health needs.
Ensure access to local community mental health programs, psychiatric services for assessment and linkage to intensive case management, assertive community treatment or critical time intervention where available (low certainty, conditional recommendation). Evidence summary Our systematic review examined the effectiveness of standard case management, as well as specific intensive casemanagement interventions, such as assertive community treatment, intensive case management and critical time intervention among homeless and vulnerably housed populations and corresponding level of need (David Ponka, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont.: unpublished data, 2020). We included a total of 56 citations, of which 10 trials reported on standard case management,51,57–65 8 trials on assertive community treatment,66–73 16 trials on intensive case management74–89 and 5 trials on critical time intervention.90–94 Box 2: How to use and understand this GRADE guideline (www.gradeworkinggroup.org) This guideline supplies providers with evidence for decisions concerning interventions to improve health and social outcomes for people who are homeless or vulnerably housed. This guideline is not meant to replace clinical judgment. Statements about clinical considerations, values and preferences are integral parts of the recommendations meant to facilitate interpretation and implementation of the guideline. Recommendations in this guideline are categorized according to the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system as strong or conditional recommendations. Strong recommendations indicate that all or almost all fully informed patients would choose the recommended course of action, and indicate to clinicians that the recommendation is appropriate for all or almost all individuals. Strong recommendations represent candidates for quality-of-care criteria or performance indicators. Conditional recommendations indicate that most informed patients would choose the suggested course of action, but an appreciable minority would not. With conditional recommendations, clinicians should recognize that different choices will be appropriate for individual patients, and they should help patients arrive at a decision consistent with their values and preferences. Conditional recommendations should not be used as a basis for standards of practice (other than to mandate shared decision-making). Good practice statements represent common-sense practice, are supported by indirect evidence and are associated with assumed large net benefit. Clinical considerations provide practical suggestions to support implementation of the GRADE recommendation. GRADE certainty ratings High: further research is very unlikely to change our confidence in the estimate of effect. Moderate: further research is likely to have an important impact on the confidence in the estimate of effect and may change the estimate. Low: further research is very likely to have an important impact on our confidence in the estimate of effect and is likely to change the estimate. Very low: any estimate of the effect is very uncertain. Table 2: Good practice statements to support delivery of care Good practice statement Indirect evidence (reference) 1. Homeless and vulnerably housed populations should receive trauma-informed and personcentred care. 23–26 2. Homeless and vulnerably housed populations should be linked to comprehensive primary care to facilitate the management of multiple health and social needs. 27 3. Providers should collaborate with public health and community organizations to ensure programs are accessible and resources appropriate to meet local patient needs. 28,29 GUIDELINE E244 CMAJ
ISSUE 10 Of 10 trials on standard case management, 10 evaluated housing stability. Only 3 reported significant decreases in homelessness,57,62,63 an effect that diminished over time in 1 trial of a time-limited residential case management in which participants in all groups accessed substantial levels of services.57 A program tailored to women reduced the odds of depression at 3 months (OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.99), but did not show improvements in the women’s overall mental health status (mean difference 4.50, 95% CI –0.98 to 9.98).64 One trial reported higher levels of hostility (p < 0.001) and depression symptoms (p < 0.05) among female participants receiving nurse-led standard case management compared with those receiving standard care.60 Few studies reported on substance use, quality of life, employment or income outcomes. Findings of assertive community treatment on housingstability, quality-of-life and hospital-admission outcomes are mixed. Two trials found that participants receiving the treatment reported fewer days homeless (p < 0.01)71 and more days in community housing (p = 0.006),70 whereas 2 trials reported no effect on episodes of homelessness or number of days homeless.66,73 Further, these interventions showed an added benefit in reducing the number of participants admitted to hospital (mean difference –8.6, p < 0.05) and with visits to the emergency department (mean difference –1.2, p = 0.009).67 Most trials of assertive community treatment reported no significant differences in mental health outcomes, including psychiatric symptoms, substance use, or income-related outcomes between the treatment and control groups. Intensive case management reduced the number of days homeless (pooled standardized mean difference –0.22, 95% CI –0.40 to –0.03), but not the number of days spent in stable housing.78,80,89 In most studies, there was no major improvement in psychological symptoms between the treatment and control groups. However, 1 trial reported significantly greater reductions in anxiety, depression and thought disturbances after 24 months (mean difference change from baseline –0.32, p = 0.007), as well as improved life satisfaction (mean difference 1.23, p = 0.001) using intensive case management.86 One trial reported no significant difference in quality of life.83 Findings on substance use were mixed. Six of the 10 trials reported that intensive case management was associated with improvements in substance use behaviours.74,78,82,84,87,88 Participants receiving intensive case management reported fewer visits to the emergency department (mean difference 19%, p < 0.05) but did not have shorter hospital stays compared with control groups.85 Intensive case management had no effect on the number of days of employment, or on income received from employment; however, income received by participants through public assistance increased (e.g., mean difference 89, 95% CI 8 to 170).78,85 Critical time intervention was beneficial in reducing the number of homeless nights (mean difference –591, p < 0.001) and the odds of homelessness (OR 0.23, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.90) during the final 18 weeks of follow-up.91 Participants receiving the treatment were rehoused sooner than those receiving standard care,95 but did not spend more days rehoused.90 Adults receiving critical time intervention showed significant improvements in psychological symptoms (mean difference –0.14, 95% CI –0.29 to 0.01).90 However, findings for children’s mental health were mixed: children aged 1.5–5 years showed improvements in internalizing (ß coefficient –3.65, 95% CI –5.61 to –1.68) and externalizing behaviours (ß coefficient –3.12, 95% CI –5.37 to –0.86), whereas changes for children aged 6–10 years and 11–16 years were not significant.93 There were no significant effects of critical time intervention on substance-use,90 quality-of-life90,92 or income-related outcomes.96 Two trials reported mixed findings on hospital admission outcomes; in 1 study, allocation to critical time intervention was associated with reduced odds of hospital admission (OR 0.11, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.96) and total number of nights in hospital (p < 0.05) in the final 18 weeks of the trial.97 However, another study reported a greater total number of nights in hospital for the treatment group compared with usual care (1171 v. 912).98 The certainty of the evidence was rated low because several trials introduced high risk of detection and performance bias. Opioid agonist therapy
Ensure access to opioid agonist therapy in primary care or by referral to an addiction specialist, potentially in collaboration with public health or community health centre for linkage to pharmacologic interventions (low certainty, conditional recommendation). Evidence summary We conducted a review of systematic reviews on pharmalogic interventions for opioid use disorder.99 Twenty-four reviews, which included 352 unique primary studies, reported on pharmacologic interventions for opioid use disorder among general populations.100–123 We expanded our inclusion criteria to general populations, aware that most studies among “general populations” had a large representation of homeless populations in their samples. We did not identify any substantial reason to believe that the mechanisms of action of our interventions of interest would differ between homeless populations who use substances and the general population of people who use substances. Reviews on pharmacologic interventions reported on the use of methadone, buprenorphine, diacetylmorphine (heroin), levo-a-acetylmethadol, slow-release oral morphine and hydromorphone for treatment of opioid use disorder. We found pooled all-cause mortality rates of 36.1 and 11.3 per 1000 person years for participants out of and in methadone maintenance therapy, respectively (rate ratio 3.20, 95% CI 2.65 to 3.86), and mortality rates of 9.5 per 1000 person years for those not receiving buprenorphine maintenance therapy compared with 4.3 per 1000 person years among those receiving the therapy (rate ratio 2.20, 95% CI 1.34 to 3.61).116 Overdose-specific mortality rates were similarly affected, with pooled overdose mortality rates of 12.7 and 2.6 per 1000 person years for participants out of and in methadone maintenance therapy, and rates of 4.6 and 1.4 per 1000 person years out of and in buprenorphine maintenance therapy.116 Compared with nonpharmacologic approaches, methadone maintenance therapy had no significant GUIDELINE CMAJ
ISSUE 10 E245 effect on mortality (relative risk 0.48, 95% CI 0.10 to 2.39).110 With respect to morbidity, pharmacologic interventions for opioid use disorder reduced the risk of hepatitis C virus (HCV) acquisition (risk ratio 0.50, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.63)112 and HIV infection.103 Adverse events were reported for all agents.100,109,119,122 Treatment with methadone and buprenorphine was associated with reduced illicit opioid use (standardized mean difference –1.17, 95% CI –1.85 to –0.49).109 Availability of buprenorphine treatment expanded access to treatment for patients unlikely to enrol in methadone clinics and facilitated earlier access for recent initiates to opioid use.117 The relative superiority of one pharmacologic agent over another on retention outcomes remains unclear; however, use of methadone was found to show better benefits than nonpharmacologic interventions for retention (risk ratio 4.44, 95% CI 3.26 to 6.04).110 The certainty of evidence ranged from very low to moderate, primarily because of inconsistency, high risk of bias and evidence from nonrandomized studies. Harm-reduction interventions
Identify problematic substance use, including alcohol or other drugs.
Identify the most appropriate approach or refer to local addiction and harm reduction/prevention services (e.g., supervised consumption facilities, managed alcohol programs) via appropriate local resources, such as public health or community health centre or les centres locaux de services communautaires (low certainty, conditional recommendation). Evidence summary We conducted a review of systematic reviews on supervised consumption facilities and managed alcohol programs.99 Two systematic reviews, which included 90 unique observational studies and 1 qualitative meta-synthesis reported on supervised consumption facilities.124–126 For managed alcohol programs, 1 Cochrane review had no included studies,127 and 2 greyliterature reviews reported on 51 studies.128,129 Establishment of supervised consumption facilities was associated with a 35% decrease in the number of fatal opioid overdoses within 500 m of the facility (from 253.8 to 165.1 deaths per 100 000 person years, p = 0.048), compared with 9% in the rest of the city (Vancouver).124 There were 336 reported opioid overdose reversals in 90 different individuals within the Vancouver facility over a 4-year period (2004–2008).125 Similar protective effects were reported in Australia and Germany. Observational studies conducted in Vancouver and Sydney showed that regular use of supervised consumption facilities was associated with decreased syringe sharing (adjusted OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.82), syringe reuse (adjusted OR 2.04, 95% CI 1.38 to 3.01) and public-space injection (adjusted OR 2.79, 95% CI 1.93 to 3.87).125 These facilities mediated access to ancillary services (e.g., food and shelter) and fostered access to broader health support.125,126 Attendance at supervised consumption facilities was associated with an increase in referrals to an addiction treatment centre and initiation of methadone maintenance therapy (adjusted hazard ratio 1.57, 95% CI 1.02 to 2.40).125 Evidence on supervised consumption facilities was rated very low to low, as all available evidence originated from nonrandomized studies. There was a lack of high-quality evidence for managed alcohol programs. Few studies reported on deaths among clients of these programs.128 The effects of managed alcohol programs on hepatic function are mixed, with some studies reporting improvement in hepatic laboratory markers over time, and others showing increases in alcohol-related hepatic damage;129 however, this may have occurred regardless of entry into such a program. This evidence suggested that managed alcohol programs result in stabilized alcohol consumption and can facilitate engagement with medical and social services.128 Clients experienced significantly fewer social, health, safety and legal harms related to alcohol consumption.129 Individuals participating in these programs had fewer hospital admissions and a 93% reduction in emergency service contacts.128 The programs also promoted improved or stabilized mental health128 and medication adherence.129 Cost effectiveness and resource implications Permanent supportive housing We found 19 studies assessing the cost and net cost of housing interventions.30,41,45,130–145 In some studies, permanent supportive housing interventions were associated with increased cost to the payers, and the costs of the interventions were only partially offset by savings in medical and social services as a result of the intervention.30,41,131–134,142 Six studies showed that these interventions saved payers money.135,137,139,141,144,145 Four of these studies, however, employed a pre–post design.135,139,141,145 Moreover, 1 cost-utility analysis of PSH suggested that the provision of housing services was associated with increased costs and increased quality-adjusted life years, with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of US$62 493 per quality-adjusted life year.136 Compared with usual care, PSH was found to be more costly to society (net cost Can$7868, 95% CI $4409 to $11 405).138 Income assistance Two studies55,146 focused on the cost effectiveness of incomeassistance interventions. Rental assistance with clients receiving case-management intervention had greater annual costs compared with usual care or groups receiving only case management.55 For each additional day housed, clients who received income assistance incurred additional costs of US$58 (95% CI $4 to $111) from the perspective of the payer, US$50 (95% CI –$17 to $117) from the perspective of the health care system and US$45 (95% CI –$19 to $108) from the societal perspective. The benefit gained from temporary financial assistance was found to outweigh its costs with a net savings of US$20 548.146 Case management Twelve publications provided evidence on cost and costeffectiveness of case-management interventions.44,55,67,69,73,75,88,96,147–150 Findings of these studies were mixed; the total cost incurred by clients of standard case management was higher than that of clients receiving usual or standard care61,88 and assertive GUIDELINE E246 CMAJ
ISSUE 10 community treatment,67,147 but lower compared with a US clinical case-management program that included housing vouchers and intensive case management.55 Cost-effectiveness studies using a societal perspective showed that standard case management was not cost effective compared with assertive community treatment for people with serious mental disorders or those with a concurrent substance-use disorder, as it was more expensive.67 For intensive case management, the cost of supporting housing with this program could be partially offset by reductions in the use of emergency shelters and temporary residences.41 Intensive case management is more likely to be cost effective when all costs and benefits to society are considered.41 A pre–post study showed that providing this program to high-need users of emergency departments resulted in a net hospital cost savings of US$132 726.150 Assertive community treatment interventions were associated with lower costs compared with usual care.66,67,73,148,149 We identified only 1 study on the cost effectiveness of critical time intervention that reported comparable costs (US$52 574 v. US$51 749) of the treatment compared with the usual services provided to men with severe mental illness.96 Interventions for substance use We identified 2 systematic reviews that reported findings from 6 studies in Vancouver on the cost effectiveness of supervised consumption facilities;124,125 5 of these 6 studies found the facilities to be cost effective. After consideration of facility operating costs, supervised consumption facilities saved up to Can$6 million from averted overdose deaths and incident HIV cases. Similarly, Can$1.8 million was saved annually from the prevention of incident HCV infection. Clinical considerations Providers can, in partnership with directly affected communities, employ a range of navigation and advocacy tools to address the root causes of homelessness, which include poverty caused by inadequate access to social assistance, precarious work, insufficient access to quality child care, social norms that allow the propagation of violence in homes and communities, inadequate supports for patients and families living with disabilities or going through life transitions, and insufficient and poor-quality housing stock.151 In addition, providers should tailor their approach to the patient’s needs and demographics, taking into account access to services, personal preferences and other illnesses.152 Providers should also recognize the social and human value of accepting homeless and vulnerably housed people into their clinical practices. The following sections provide additional evidence for underserved and marginalized populations. Women A scoping review of the literature on interventions for homeless women (Christine Mathew, Bruyère Research Institute, Ottawa, Ont.: unpublished data, 2020) yielded 4 systematic reviews153–156 and 9 randomized controlled trials (RCTs)36,60,92,95,157–161 that focused specifically on homeless and vulnerably housed women. Findings showed that PSH was effective in reducing the risk of intimate partner violence and improving psychological symptoms.158 For women with children experiencing homelessness, priority access to permanent housing subsidies can reduce child separations and foster care placements, allowing women to maintain the integrity of their family unit.158 As well, Housing First programs for families, critical time interventions during times of crisis, and therapeutic communities are associated with lower levels of psychological distress, increased self-esteem and improved quality of life for women and their families.92,155 A gender-based analysis highlighted the importance of safety, service accessibility and empowerment among homeless women. We suggest that providers focus on patient safety, empowerment among women who have faced genderbased violence, and improve access to resources, including income, child care and other social support services. Youth A systematic review on youth-specific interventions reported findings from 4 systematic reviews and 18 RCTs.162 Permanent supportive housing improved housing stability. As well, individual cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to result in significant improvements in depression scores, and family-based therapies are also promising, resulting in reductions in youth substance use through restoring the family dynamic. Findings on motivational interviewing, skill building and case-management interventions were inconsistent, with some trials showing a positive impact and others not identifying significant benefits. Refugee and migrant populations A qualitative systematic review on homeless migrants (Harneel Kaur, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont.: unpublished data, 2020) identified 17 qualitative articles that focused on the experiences of homeless migrants.163–179 Findings indicated that discrimination, limited language proficiency and severed social networks negatively affected homeless migrants’ sense of belonging and access to social services, such as housing. However, employment opportunities provided a sense of independence and improved social integration. Methods Composition of participating groups In preparation for the guideline, we formed the Homeless Health Research Network (https://methods.cochrane.org/equity/ projects/homeless-health-guidelines), composed of clinicians, academics, and governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders. The Homeless Health Guideline Steering Committee (K.P. [chair], C.K., T.A., A.A., G.S., G.B., D.P., E.A., V.B., V.S. and P.T.) was assembled to coordinate guideline development. Expert representation was sought from eastern and western Canada, Ontario, Quebec and the Prairie provinces for membership on the steering committee. In addition, 5 people with lived experience of homelessness (herein referred to as “community scholars”180) were recruited to participate in the guideline-development activities. A management committee (K.P., C.K. and P.T.) oversaw the participating groups and monitored competing interests. The steering committee decided to develop a single guideline publication informed by a series of 8 systematic reviews. The GUIDELINE CMAJ
ISSUE 10 E247 steering committee assembled expert working groups to operationalize each review. Each working group consisted of clinical topic experts and community scholars who were responsible for providing contextual expertise. The steering committee also assembled a technical team, which provided technical expertise in the conduct and presentation of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Finally, the steering committee assembled the guideline panel, which had the responsibility to provide external review of the evidence and drafted recommendations. The panel was composed of 17 individuals, including physicians, primary care providers, internists, psychiatrists, public health professionals, people with lived experience of homelessness, medical students and medical residents. Panel members had no financial or intellectual conflicts of interest. A full membership list of the individual teams’ composition is available in Appendix 2, available at www.cmaj.ca/lookup/ suppl/doi:10.1503/cmaj.190777/-/DC1. Selection of priority topics We used a 3-step modified Delphi consensus method (Esther Shoemaker, Bruyère Research Institute, Ottawa, Ont.: unpublished data, 2020) to select priority health conditions for marginalized populations experiencing homelessness or vulnerable housing. Briefly, between May and June 2017, we developed and conducted a survey (in French and English), in which we asked 84 expert providers and 76 people with lived homelessness experience to rank and prioritize an initial list of needs and populations. We specifically asked participants, while answering the Delphi survey, to keep in mind 3 priority-setting criteria when considering the unique challenges of implementing health care for homeless or vulnerably housed people: value added (i.e., the opportunity for a unique and relevant contribution), reduction of unfair and preventable health inequities, and decrease in burden of illness (i.e., the number of people who may have a disease or condition).181 The initial top 4 priority needs identified were as follows: facilitating access to housing, providing mental health and addiction care, delivering care coordination and case management, and facilitating access to adequate income. The priority marginalized populations identified included Indigenous people; women and families; youth; people with acquired brain injury, or intellectual or physical disabilities; and refugees and other migrants (Esther Shoemaker, Bruyère Research Institute, Ottawa, Ont.: unpublished data, 2020). Each working group then scoped the literature using Google Scholar and PubMed to determine a list of interventions and terms relating to each of the priority-need categories. Each working group came to consensus on the final list of interventions to be included (Table 3). Guideline development We followed the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) approach for the development of this clinical guideline, including the identification of clinical questions, systematic reviews of the best available evidence, Table 3: Descriptions of priority-need interventions Intervention Description Permanent supportive housing
Long-term housing in the community with no set preconditions for access. Housing may be paired with the provision of individualized supportive services that are tailored to participants’ needs and choices, including assertive community treatment and intensive case management.
This guideline groups the Housing First model (a homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing housing) with permanent supportive housing. Income assistance
Benefits and programs that improve socioeconomic status. This may include assistance that directly increases income and programs that help with cost reduction of basic living necessities.
This guideline also groups employment programs (e.g., individual placement and support, and compensated work therapy) in this category. Case management
Standard case management allows for the provision of an array of social, health care and other services with the goal of helping the client maintain good health and social relationships.
Intensive case management offers the support of a case manager who brokers access to an array of services. Case-management support can be available for up to 12 hours per day, 7 days a week, and each case manager often has a caseload of 15–20 service users.
Assertive community treatment offers team-based care to individuals with severe and persistent mental illness by a multidisciplinary group of health care workers in the community. This team should be available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Critical time intervention supports continuity of care for service users during times of transition. Case management is administered by a critical time intervention worker and is a time-limited service, usually lasting 6–9 months. Pharmacologic interventions for substance use disorder
Pharmacologic interventions for opioid use disorder, including methadone, buprenorphine, diacetylmorphine, levo-a-acetylmethadol and naltrexone.
Pharmacologic agents for reversal of opioid overdose: opioid antagonist administered intravenously or intranasally (e.g., naloxone). Harm reduction for substance use disorders
Supervised consumption facilities: facilities (stand-alone, co-located or pop-up) where people who use substances can consume preobtained substances under supervision.
Managed alcohol programs: shelter, medical assistance, social services and the provision of regulated alcohol to support residents with severe alcohol use disorder. GUIDELINE E248 CMAJ
ISSUE 10 assessment of the certainty of the evidence and development of recommendations.182 We conducted a series of systematic reviews to answer the following clinical question: Should PSH, income assistance, case management, pharmacologic agents for opioid use, and/or harm-reduction interventions be considered for people with lived experience of homelessness? Systematic reviews for each intervention were driven by a logic model. A detailed description of the methods used to compile evidence summaries for each recommendation, including search terms, can be found in Appendix 3, available at www.cmaj.ca/ lookup/suppl/doi:10.1503/cmaj.190777/-/DC1. We sought evidence on questions considering population, interventions and comparisons according to published a priori protocols.183–186 We used relevant terms and structured search strategies in 9 bibliographic databases for RCTs and quasi-experimental studies. The technical team reviewed titles, abstracts and full texts of identified citations, selected evidence for inclusion and compiled evidence reviews, including cost-effectiveness and resource-use data, for consideration by the guideline panel. The technical team collected and synthesized data on the following a priori outcomes: housing stability, mental health, quality of life, substance use, hospital admission, employment and income. Where possible, we conducted meta-analyses with random effects and assessed certainty of evidence using the GRADE approach. Where pooling of results was not appropriate, we synthesized results narratively. In addition to the intervention and cost-effectiveness reviews, the technical team conducted 3 systematic reviews to collect contextual and population-specific evidence for the populations prioritized through our Delphi process (women, youth, refugees and migrants) (Christine Mathew, Bruyère Research Institute, Ottawa, Ont.: unpublished data, 2020; Harneel Kaur, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont.: unpublished data, 2020).162 Additionally, we conducted 1 qualitative literature review to capture patient values and preferences, focused on the experiences of people who are homeless in engaging with our selected interventions.20 Drafting of recommendations The steering committee hosted a 2-day knowledge-sharing event, termed the “Homeless Health Summit,” on Nov. 25–26, 2018. Attendees included expert working group members, community scholars, technical team members, and other governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders. Findings from all intervention reviews were presented and discussed according to the GRADE Evidence to Decision framework.187 After the meeting, the steering committee drafted GRADE recommendations (Box 2) through an iterative consensus process. All steering-committee members participated in multiple rounds of review and revision of the drafted clinical recommendations. Guideline panel review We used the GRADE Evidence to Decision framework to facilitate the development of recommendations187–189 (Appendix 4, available at www.cmaj.ca/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1503/cmaj.190777/-/DC1). We used GRADEpro and the Panel Voice software to obtain input from the guideline panel.190 Panellists provided input on the wording and strength of the draft recommendations. They also provided considerations for clinical implementation. We required endorsement of recommendations by 60% of panel members for acceptance of a recommendation. After review by the guideline panel, the steering committee reviewed the final recommendations before sign-off. Good practice statements We developed a limited number of good practice statements to support the delivery of the initial evidence-based recommendations. A good practice statement characteristically represents situations in which a large and compelling body of indirect evidence strongly supports the net benefit of the recommended action, which is necessary for health care practice.191–193 Guideline-development groups consider making good practice statements when they have high confidence that indirect evidence supports net benefit, there is a clear and explicit rationale connecting the indirect evidence, and it would be an onerous and unproductive exercise and thus a poor use of the group’s limited resources to collect this evidence. The steering committee came to a consensus on 3 good practice statements based on indirect evidence. Identification of implementation considerations We completed a mixed-methods study to identify determinants of implementation across Canada for the guideline (Olivia Magwood, Bruyère Research Institute, Ottawa, Ont.: unpublished data, 2020). Briefly, the study included a survey of 88 stakeholders and semistructured interviews with people with lived experience of homelessness. The GRADE Feasibility, Acceptability, Cost (affordability) and Equity (FACE) survey collected data on guideline priority, feasibility, acceptability, cost, equity and intent to implement. We used a framework analysis and a series of meetings (Ottawa, Ont., Jan. 13, 2020; Hamilton, Ont., Aug. 16, 2019; Gatineau, Que., July 18, 2019) with relevant stakeholders in the field of homeless health to analyze our implementation data. Management of competing interests Competing interests were assessed using a detailed form adapted from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Uniform Disclosure Form for Potential Conflicts of Interest194 and the Elsevier sample coauthor agreement form for a scientific project, contingencies and communication.195 These forms were collected at the start of the guideline activities for the steering committee, guideline panel and community scholars. All authors submitted an updated form in June 2019 and before publication. The management committee iteratively reviewed these statements and interviewed participants for any clarifications and concerns. A priori, the management committee had agreed that major competing interests would lead to dismissal. There were no competing interests declared. Implementation Our mixed-methods study (Olivia Magwood, Bruyère Research Institute, Ottawa, Ont.: unpublished data, 2020) looking at guideline priority, feasibility, acceptability, cost, equity and intent to implement, identified the following concerns regarding implementation of this guideline. GUIDELINE CMAJ
ISSUE 10 E249 Stakeholders highlighted the importance of increasing primary care providers’ knowledge of the process of applying to PSH programs and informing their patients about the resources available in the community. The major concerns regarding feasibility arose around the limited availability of existing services, such as housing, as well as administrative and human resources concerns. For example, not all primary care providers work in a team-based comprehensive care model and have access to a social worker or care coordinator who can help link the patient to existing services. Furthermore, wait lists for PSH are frequently long. Despite this, all stakeholders agreed that access to PSH was a priority and is a feasible recommendation. Allied health practitioners and physicians do not always agree with their new role in this area. Some feedback suggested pushback from family physicians who have limited time with patients and less experience exploring social determinants of health, such as housing or income. The initial steps outlined in this guideline would come at an opportunity cost for them. Stigma attached to the condition of homelessness was recognized as an important barrier to care for homeless populations. Many stakeholders recognized that successful implementation of these recommendations may require moderate costs to increase the housing supply, income supports and human resources. However, supervised consumption facilities, with their range of benefits, were perceived as cost-saving. Many interventions have the potential to increase health equity, if available and accessible in a local context. Many stakeholders highlighted opportunities to increase knowledge of the initial steps and advocate on a systematic level to increase availability of services. Suggested performance measures We developed a set of performance measures to accompany this guidleline for consideration by providers and policy-makers:
The proportion of adults who are assessed for homelessness or vulnerable housing over 1 year.
The proportion of eligible adults who are considered for income assistance over 1 year.
The proportion of eligible adults using opioids who are offered opioid agonist therapy over 1 year. Updates The Homeless Health Research Network will be responsible for updating this guideline every 5 years. Other guidelines This guideline complements other published guidelines. This current guideline aims to support the upcoming Indigenousspecific guidelines that recognize the importance of Indigenous leadership and methodology that will recognize distinct underlying causes of Indigenous homelessness (Jesse Thistle, York University, Toronto, Ont.: personal communication, 2020). The World Health Organization has developed guidelines to promote healthy housing standards to save lives, prevent disease and increase quality of life.196 Other guidelines specific to opioid use disorder exist,197,198 including 1 for “treatment-refractory” patients.199 In the United Kingdom, the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence has published guidelines for outpatient treatment of schizophrenia and has published multimorbidity guidelines (www.nice.org.uk/guidance). The National Health Care for the Homeless Council in the US has adapted best practices to support front-line workers caring for homeless populations.200 How is this guideline different? This guideline distills initial steps and evidence-based approaches, to both homeless and vulnerably housed people, with the assistance of patients and other stakeholders. It also introduces a new clinical lens with upstream interventions that provide a social and health foundation for community integration. Its initial steps support the vision of the Centre for Homelessness Impact in the UK, which envisions a society where the experience of homelessness, in instances where it cannot be prevented, is only ever rare, brief and nonrecurrent.201 Finally, we hope that our stakeholder engagement inspires and equips future students, health providers and the public health community to implement the initial step recommendations. Gaps in knowledge Evidence-based policy initiatives will need to address the accelerating health and economic disparities between homeless and general housed populations. As primary care expands its medical home models,27 there will be a research opportunity for more traumainformed care202 to support the evidence-based interventions in this guideline. Indeed, clinical research can refine how providers use the initial steps protocol: housing, income, case management and addiction. With improved living conditions, care coordination and continuity of care, research and practice can shift to treatable conditions, such as HIV and HCV infection, substance use disorder, mental illness and tuberculosis.203 Medical educators will also need to develop new training tools to support the delivery of interventions. Curricula and training that support the delivery of interventions, such as traumainformed and patient-centred care, will also be needed.12 Many of the recommended interventions in this guideline rely on collaboration of community providers, housing coordinators and case management. Interdisciplinary primary care research and maintenance of linkages to primary care will benefit from new homeless health clinic networks. Monitoring transitions in care and housing availability will be an important research goal for Canada’s National Housing Strategy and the associated Reaching Home program. Conclusion Homelessness has become a health emergency. Initial steps in addressing this crisis proposed in this guideline include strongly recommending PSH as an urgent intervention. The guideline also recognizes the trauma, disability, mental illness and stigma GUIDELINE E250 CMAJ
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Closing the Gaps: Advancing Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery for Older Adults

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy14384

Date
2020-12-15
Topics
Population health/ health equity/ public health
Health systems, system funding and performance
  1 document  
Policy Type
Policy endorsement
Date
2020-12-15
Topics
Population health/ health equity/ public health
Health systems, system funding and performance
Text
Closing the Gaps: Advancing Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery for Older Adults 29 Evidence-Informed Expert Recommendations to Improve Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery for Older Adults Across Canada DECEMBER 2020 CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS iii Table of Contents Report Development Contributors ...............................................................................................1 Organizational Endorsements...................................................................................................... 4 Abbreviations .................................................................................................................................... 7 Executive Summary .........................................................................................................................8 Background and Context ...............................................................................................................15 Domain 1: Individuals and Unpaid Caregivers ......................................................................26 Domain 2: Community-Based Services and Programs ....................................................... 35 Domain 3: Health Care Professionals and Emergency Response Personnel ................ 41 Domain 4: Care Institutions and Organizations ...................................................................46 Domain 5: Legislation and Policy................................................................................................51 Domain 6: Research.......................................................................................................................58 Glossary.............................................................................................................................................62 References ........................................................................................................................................64 Appendices .......................................................................................................................................78 Appendix A: Index of Recommendations and Enabling Bodies ..................................................................... A1 Appendix B: Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults Summary of Relevant Legislation and Framework .......................................................................................................................................................................................B1 1 Report Development Contributors In January 2019, the Canadian Red Cross in partnership with the National Institute on Ageing reviewed the latest evidence and expert opinions to inform the development of recommendations for governments, organizations and individuals to improve emergency preparedness, response and recovery for older adults. Enlisted experts that contributed to the development of the report are listed below. Co-Chairs, Canadian Red Cross/ National Institute on Ageing Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults Project Samir K. Sinha, MD, DPhil, FRCPC, AGSF Co-Chair and Director of Health Policy Research, National Institute on Ageing Director of Geriatrics, Sinai Health and the University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Associate Professor, Departments of Medicine, Family and Community Medicine, and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Ontario Sarah Sargent, MA Vice President, Canadian Operations Programs Canadian Red Cross Ottawa, Ontario Expert Contributors: Christina Baert-Wilson Senior Director, Community Health Canadian Red Cross Dartmouth, Nova Scotia Jane Barratt, PhD Secretary General, International Federation on Ageing Toronto, Ontario Sarah Burke, MA Acting Director, Respect Education Canadian Red Cross Victoria, British Columbia Dan Carbin, MSc Principal, Santis Health Toronto, Ontario Nancy Cooper, MHSA Director of Quality & Performance Ontario Long-Term Care Association Toronto, Ontario Leslie Eckel Knowledge Exchange Associate InterRAI Canada, University of Waterloo Waterloo, Ontario Sharon Goodwin, BScN, NP, MN, PhD Senior Vice President of Home and Community Care Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) Ottawa, Ontario Tyler Hague, MPA Manager, Disaster Risk Reduction Canadian Red Cross London, Ontario Irene Hobuleic Senior Director, Practice Quality and Risk Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) Toronto, Ontario Jessica Hseih, MSW, RSW Research Coordinator National Initiative for Care of the Elderly (NICE) Toronto, Ontario Andrea Iaboni, MD, DPhil, FRCPC Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto Medical Lead, Geriatric Psychiatry, Toronto Rehab, University Health Network Toronto, Ontario REPORT DEVELOPMENT CONTRIBUTORS CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 2 Sophia Ikura, MPA Executive Director, Population Health Solutions Lab Sinai Health Toronto, Ontario Mackenzie Kiemele Coordinator Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) Toronto, Ontario Michael Nicin, MA, MPP Executive Director National Institute on Ageing Toronto, Ontario Shawna Peddle, MSc Former Director, Disaster Risk Reduction Canadian Red Cross Guelph, Ontario Arianne Persaud Communications and Public Affairs Manager National Institute on Ageing Toronto, Ontario Veronica Said, MA Consultant, Santis Health Toronto, Ontario Jennifer Savoy, BA Manager, Emergency Management and Programs Branch Public Safety Canada Ottawa, Ontario Dallas Seitz, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, and O'Brien Institute for Public Health Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary Calgary, Alberta Samina Talat, MHSc Associate Vice President, Health Innovations Canadian Red Cross Mississauga, Ontario Laura Tamblyn-Watts, LLB National Director of Law, Policy and Research Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) Toronto, Ontario Sandy van Solm, PhD Manager, Emergency Management/CEMC Region of Waterloo Waterloo, Ontario Melinda Wells, MPA Director, Global Relations and Humanitarian Diplomacy International Operations Canadian Red Cross Ottawa, Ontario Ivy Wong, MPA Policy Director National Institute on Ageing Toronto, Ontario Caberry Yu, BHSc, MD(c) Junior Research Fellow National Institute on Ageing Toronto, Ontario Lina Zita, BHA Development and Marketing Coordinator Older Adults Centres’ Association of Ontario Caledon, Ontario 3 Project Staff Nicoda Foster, MPH, PhD(c) Project Manager CRC/NIA Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults Project Office of the Director of Geriatrics Sinai Health and the University Health Network Toronto, Ontario Laura Romero, BSc Research Assistant CRC/NIA Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults Project Office of the Director of Geriatrics Sinai Health and the University Health Network Toronto, Ontario Acknowledgments Shionne Hitchman, BScH Research Assistant ARC/AAN Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults Project Office of the Director of Geriatrics Sinai Health and the University Health Network Toronto, Ontario Elsa Nana Nzepa, BSc Program Assistant CRC/NIA Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults Project Office of the Director of Geriatrics Sinai Health and the University Health Network Toronto, Ontario The authors would like to thank Veronica Said, Dan Carbin, Peg Christensen, Daphne Horn, Chris Walsh and Allan McKee for their important contributions towards the development of this report. REPORT DEVELOPMENT CONTRIBUTORS CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 4 International Federation on Ageing ecagp lacgp <:JIW,Ot,Ui.r.u.DfMYOf A(;A0£1,11£ ( 1tt,1,1oDlf_tlNI: GC RIAT RIC PSYCIII.O.TltY OEG(ROHlO~YCHlAl lttE CAOT · ACE canadlan Association of Occupational Therapists Association canadienne des ergotherapeutes $ CAEPIACMU
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CanadianAssociation .., .,. for Long Term Care CANAOl,6,N H:D[RATION OF NIJRSES UNIO»S LA F"EOERATION (ANAOIENNE DES SYNDIC ATS D'INFIRMIEAES ET INFIRHIERS t Canadian Home Care Association canadienne de soins et services a domicile Canadian Network for the Health and Housing of People Experiencing Homelessness Organizational Endorsements The Canadian Red Cross in partnership with the National Institute on Ageing would like to thank the following organizations who have given their support and official endorsement of this work. 5 Canadian Physiotherapy Association ft NICE Association canadienne de physiotherapie National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly Initiative nationale pour le soin des personnes a.gees ' ( ' ,., Closing the Gap® HEALTHCARE - _.. ,._ CS TCM I Canadian Society for !IP L Long-Term Core Medicin1 National Pensioners f.ederat'on Nationale Federation ~ des Retra.ltes J.1Hnostmeae a SENIOR CARE ® HUllldll RKJhb do nol hc1ve d bf~I befoie d,He Health CARERS CANADA PROCHES AIDANTS au CANADA ORGANIZATIONAL ENDORSEMENTS CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 6 Long Term & Continuing Care Association of Manitoba L’Association de soins continus et à long terme du Manitoba ALBERTA CONTTNUING CAREASSOC/ATTON
AdvantAge Ontario Advancing Senior Care OACAO The Voice of Older Adult Centres La voix des centres pour aines OCSA Ontario Community Support Association ¦ Provincial Geriatrics Leadership Office Region of Waterloo THE GERONTOLOGICAL NURSING ASSOCIATION ONTARIO ONTARIO LONG TERM CARE ASSOCIATION ~TDRDNm The New Brunswick Association of NURSING HOMES L'Association des FOYERS DE SOINS du Nouveau-Brunswick ~~E ONTARIO \ Bringing Health Care Home @ caAregiver ORGANIZATION OPS OUIUIIO PlfS OU, SJ PP 0 1 1 WOf)!PS A SSO CIJ 1 l II: HEALTH COMMONS SOLUTIONS LAB ~ 7 Abbreviations AAN......................................................................................................................................................American Academy of Nursing ADLs.................................................................................................................................................................Activities of Daily Living ADRD........................................................................................................................Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias ARC ...........................................................................................................................................................................American Red Cross CARP...............................................................................................................................Canadian Association of Retired Persons CDC ............................................................................................................................Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CILs .....................................................................................................................................................Centers for Independent Living CRC ...........................................................................................................................................................................Canadian Red Cross ED .......................................................................................................................................................................Emergency Department EMS .........................................................................................................................................................Emergency Medical Services LTC .....................................................................................................................................................................................Long-Term Care PTSD ..................................................................................................................................................Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PDA ................................................................................................................................................................Personal Digital Assistant PPE ......................................................................................................................................................Personal Protective Equipment SAC ...............................................................................................................................................................Scientific Advisory Council SDM ..............................................................................................................................................................Substitute Decision Maker SMART .....................................................................................................................................Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment SWiFT ...............................................................................................................................................Seniors Without Families Team US .....................................................................................................................................................................United States of America ABBREVIATIONS CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 8 Executive Summary Older adults consistently experience the greatest proportion of casualties during and after emergencies in Canada, and internationally, when compared to younger age groups (Fernandez, Byard, Lin, Benson, & Barbera, 2002; Mokdad, et al., 2005). For instance, in 1998, ice storms resulted in widespread power outages across Quebec that saw 600,000 people, that included older adults, forced from their homes and a high mortality rate among older persons due to a lack of available heating equipment, less optimal housing conditions, and poor coordination between emergency, health and social services (Plouffe, Kang, & Kalache, 2008). Over a decade later in 2010, more than half of all deaths resulting from heat waves in Quebec were among persons aged 75 years or older (Bustinza, Lebel, Gosselin, Belanger, & Chebana, 2013). In the 2017 wildfires in British Columbia and floods in Quebec, older adults were impacted the hardest due to their greater levels of vulnerability, while poorly coordinated protocols left them more vulnerable due to delays in initiating evacuation procedures (Global News, 2017; Roslin, 2018). More recently, 97% of Canada’s first 10,000 COVID-19 deaths have occurred in older Canadians 60 years of age and older (Grant, 2020), with the greatest proportion of deaths occurring in long-term care and retirement homes (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2020; Government of Canada, 2020). Several research studies have demonstrated that these poor outcomes are linked to physiological age-related changes, such as impairments to sensory, cognitive and mobility disabilities; access and functional needs; social isolation and lack of access to familial and other social supports; having limited financial resources; and insufficient policies and procedures (Al-Rousan, Rubenstein, & Wallace , 2014; Fernandez, Byard, Lin, Benson, & Barbera, 2002; Killian, Moon, McNeill, Garrison, & Moxley, 2017). Furthermore, interruption to the timely provision of routine medical care is recognized as a likely contributor to mortality and morbidity associated medical complications during emergencies, especially in the immediate months following major natural disasters. The high proportion of deaths that also seem to occur in older adult congregate living settings is further indicative of fundamental issues that will need to be addressed in these settings as well. There exists a diverse continuum of capacity for older adults, from reduced capacity due to physical and cognitive impairments, as noted above, to active, engaged members of their communities. Older adults themselves should be empowered to reach out and connect with their peers, particularly those who are more vulnerable, supporting each other in anticipating and preparing for emergencies. The critical role of older adults who act as the sole or primary caregivers of other older adults, whether they be partners, family members, or friends, must also be recognized and supported. There is a clear need to better support emergency preparedness for older Canadians living at home in the community or in congregate settings. In order to improve preparedness and response to 9 emergencies, Canada needs greater consideration and adoption of evidence-informed, uniform and collaborative emergency management interventions. These efforts will require improved resources and capacity to meet the emergency needs of all older adults, regardless of the variety of circumstances and settings in which they may be living. In 2018, to address these gaps in emergency and disaster preparedness and management, members of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council (ARC SAC) and the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) Policy Expert Round Table on Emergency/Disaster Preparedness for Older Adults agreed to conduct a scientific review of the latest evidence, current available legislation, and policies, in order to develop a set of recommendations that were then further reviewed and strengthened by a broader panel of experts with specific expertise in the fields of social work, education, public health, research, health policy, emergency management, geriatrics, and nursing. Through a rigorous consensus decision-making process, a comprehensive final set of 25 evidenceinformed recommendations were ultimately developed and endorsed by this group. This report is an extension and continuation of that work with an expanded focus that includes epidemics and pandemics. The COVID-19 pandemic has had its greatest impact on older adults in Canada and globally. The challenges experienced by older Canadians has demonstrated the need for improvements in preparedness planning targeting one of the most vulnerable group in our society. This report highlights areas where there are opportunities to better support older Canadians and their caregivers and the system more broadly, to be prepared before and successfully recover after the emergency. To adapt the recommendations for the Canadian context, the Canadian Red Cross and the National Institute on Ageing agreed to collaborate on an identical consensus-based development process employed by the ARC and AAN. The Canadian process resulted in 29 evidence-informed expert recommendations. This paper presents those recommendations, and the rationale behind them, for improving emergency preparedness, response and recovery interventions for older adults across Canada. In order to achieve a collaborative approach to improving emergency management nation-wide, the recommendations are categorized across six relevant emergency management domains: 1. Individuals and unpaid caregivers; 2. Community-based services and programs; 3. Health care professionals and emergency response personnel; 4. Care institutions and organizations; 5. Legislation and policy; and 6. Research. The intention of these recommendations is to provide interventions that can bridge the existing gaps in emergency preparedness, response and recovery, and facilitate better outcomes for older adults across Canada. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 10 Summary of Recommendations 1. Individuals and Unpaid Caregivers Domain Recommendation 1.1: Older adults and their unpaid caregiver(s) should be provided with tailored, easy-to-access information and resources related to emergency preparedness and guidance on how to develop customized emergency plans that consider the functional and health needs of older adults and appropriate strategies to support infection/disease prevention. Volunteer representatives of older Canadians and their unpaid caregivers should be recruited and involved in developing and disseminating resources and training material, to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected. Recommendation 1.2: Older adults who are reliant on mobility aids should remove or minimize barriers affecting their ability to evacuate, and should take steps to ensure their safety within their surroundings. Recommendation 1.3: If registries for people with functional and other needs, including persons with disabilities, have been established by local emergency response agencies, older adults and/or their unpaid caregiver(s) should register so they can be better assisted/supported during emergencies. Recommendation 1.4: Older adults who have a sensory impairment, such as a visual or hearing disability, should take additional precautions to prepare themselves for emergencies. Recommendation 1.5: Older adults who live with chronic health conditions should maintain a readily accessible list of their current medical conditions, treatments (medications, durable medical equipment, supplies and other health care needs), health care providers, and emergency contacts, including substitute decision makers (SDMs). Recommendation 1.6: Older adults who take medications should work with their Health Care professionals to ensure they have access to at least a 30-day supply of medications during an emergency. Recommendation 1.7: Older adults who are reliant on medical devices that require electricity, should ensure they have back-up power supplies in place, especially if required while sheltering-inplace.
Older adults and/or their unpaid caregivers should contact their electricity company in advance to discuss their needs and ensure options for alternative power sources are available, especially addressing the need for access to power to charge cell phones and other mobile devices.
Older adults and/or their unpaid caregivers should seek assistance with obtaining and maintaining an alternative power source at home, if required, such as when being required to move heavy equipment and fuel or in accessing these resources in rural locations, and operating equipment. Recommendation 1.8: Older adults should be encouraged to continually maintain an adequate local support network that can be called upon during impending disasters and unexpected emergencies, especially if they live alone or lack easy access to relatives. 11 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Recommendation 1.9: Unpaid caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and/or other dementias should be supported to identify signs of distress, anxiety, or confusion, and use strategies to redirect attention, and help them stay calm during emergencies. In addition, unpaid caregivers should be prepared to prevent wandering, and have plans in place to locate their care recipients if they do wander or require medical intervention(s) during an emergency. 2. Community-Based Services and Programs Domain Recommendation 2.1: Access should be increased to tailored community-based programs that educate older adults and their unpaid caregivers about emergencies that could affect their region and how best to prepare for and respond to them. Volunteer representatives of older Canadians and their unpaid caregivers should be recruited and involved in training material development and implementation, to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected.
Community-based programs and organizations should collaborate with regional public health authorities in developing and disseminating education resources on infection control, disease and injury prevention practices for older adults and their unpaid caregivers during emergencies. Recommendation 2.2: Programs that provide disaster relief and/or essential community services, such as Meals on Wheels, and daily living assistance for older people (financial, medical, personal care, food and transportation) should receive emergency preparedness training and education, as well as should develop and adhere to plans and protocols related to responding adequately to the needs of their clients during emergencies. Volunteer representatives of older Canadians and their unpaid caregivers should be recruited and involved in training material development and implementation, to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected. Recommendation 2.3: Community-based programs that provide in-home health and personal care for older adults should integrate strategies that minimize unnecessary personal contact and leverage resources (e.g. personal protective equipment such as gowns, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer etc.) in their emergency preparedness plans and protocols. Recommendation 2.4: Local governments should leverage data sources that identify at-risk individuals to enable emergency responders to more easily prioritize their search and rescue efforts following an emergency. 3. Health Care Professionals and Emergency Response Personnel Domain Recommendation 3.1: Health care professionals and emergency response personnel should receive training on providing geriatric care relevant to their discipline and how best to assist older adults and their unpaid caregivers before, during and after emergencies. The additional education and training should also increase their awareness of best practices and precautions to minimize the risk of infectious disease transmission or spread while responding to emergencies. Volunteer representatives of older Canadians should be recruited and CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 12 involved in training material development and implementation, to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected. Recommendation 3.2: Health care professionals and emergency response personnel should strive to mitigate negative outcomes among older adults during and after emergencies by adopting effective strategies designed to protect the physical and mental health of older adults they may come in contact with. Strategies can include assessing the psychological well-being of older adults for signs of distress and providing appropriate treatments or referrals as needed. Recommendation 3.3: Health care professionals and emergency response personnel should receive cultural awareness training to provide appropriate care and support for older adults with different cultural and religious backgrounds before, during, and after an emergency. Providers should have options for providing support to older adults and their unpaid caregivers who face language or cultural barriers to accessing supports (e.g., translators, written materials in languages other than English or French, etc.). This is of particular importance for personnel that work with Indigenous populations, in diverse community-settings and during times of evacuation due to emergencies. 4. Care Institutions and Organizations Domain Recommendation 4.1: Care institutions and organizations should include emergency preparedness and response education in their routine training courses.
Multi-modality educational tools and practices should be used to better facilitate knowledge acquisition and behavioral change.
Volunteer representatives of older Canadians should be recruited and involved in developing and disseminating resources and training material, to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected. Recommendation 4.2: Additional strategies to improve the collection and transfer of identifying information and medical histories should be adopted into current standardized patient handoff procedures to better facilitate effective tracking, relocation and care of patients during an emergency. Recommendation 4.3: Care institutions and other organizations should strive to develop comprehensive emergency plans that include effective response strategies for protecting older adults against infectious disease outbreaks and reflect evidence-based standards supported by organizations such as Infection Prevention and Control Canada (IPAC).
Care institutions should also regularly assess and address any barriers they identify that could affect the implementation of their emergency plans that build on their routine practices. 5. Legislation and Policy Domain Recommendation 5.1: A national advisory committee should be created to inform emergency preparedness, response and recovery program development and strategies for older Canadians. Individuals who are representative of older Canadians and their unpaid caregivers should be involved to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected. 13 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Recommendation 5.2: All provinces and territories should support the implementation of tax-free emergency preparedness purchasing periods during specific times of the year or prior to an impending emergency. Governments should also provide targeted funding to directly support/ subsidize the purchase of emergency preparedness kits for older Canadians. Items covered should include an agreed-upon list of emergency supplies (such as batteries, portable generators, rescue ladders, radios and ice packs), air conditioners, personal protective equipment (such as masks, gloves and hand sanitizer) and additional mobility aids (canes, walkers, etc.). Recommendation 5.3: All provinces and territories should support the creation of a national licensure process or program for nurses, physicians, allied health professionals and other emergency medical service personnel to allow them to provide voluntary emergency medical support across provincial/territorial boundaries during declared states of emergency. Recommendation 5.4: All provincial and territorial governments should support legislative requirements that mandate congregate living settings for older persons (e.g. nursing homes, assisted living facilities and retirement homes) to regularly update and report their emergency plans that outline actions and contingencies to take in case of emergencies. These plans should include:
Back-up generators in case of extended periods of power outages, and coordinated plans with relevant community agencies (e.g. municipal fire agencies) for efficient evacuations.
Direction on appropriate interventions (i.e. selfisolation, wearing face masks, physical distancing, etc.) to control and prevent outbreaks and spread of infectious diseases amongst the population in times of emergencies.
Clear thresholds for temperature regulation, specifically, maximum and minimum temperatures permissible based on occupational and environmental health standards, and the steps required to regulate temperatures and minimize fluctuations.
An outline of staffing levels that should be maintained during emergencies to minimize care and/or service interruptions. All provinces and territories should work towards standardizing requirements for emergency plans in congregate living settings in accordance with the priorities outlined in the 2019 Emergency Management Strategy for Canada and ensure that their emergency plans for congregate living settings are aligned with directives outlined in their provincial/territorial pandemic and emergency plans. Recommendation 5.5: All provinces and territories should adopt a standardized approach to promoting collaborations between local pharmaceutical prescribers and dispensers (i.e. community pharmacists), physicians and nurse practitioners, to ensure an adequate supply of prescription medications are dispensed to persons with chronic health conditions prior to and during an emergency. This approach should also outline the need for collaboration between pharmaceutical providers, hospitals and relief agencies to ensure an adequate supply of prescription medications are available at hospitals, relief and evacuation shelters.
All persons should be able to obtain at least a 30-day supply of emergency prescription medications prior to and during an emergency. CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 14 6. Research Domain Recommendation 6.1: There is a need to prioritize the creation and funding of research efforts to better support the development of a common framework for measuring the quality and levels of emergency preparedness among care institutions, organizations, paid providers, community organizations, and other groups that work primarily with older adults and their unpaid caregivers during and after emergencies. Recommendation 6.2: There needs to be a more concerted effort in utilizing outcomes from existing evidence to support the planning, design, and refinement of more evidence-informed emergency preparedness interventions, policies, and regulations in support of older adults and unpaid caregivers, as well as organizations and paid care providers that will be responsible for meeting their needs during and after an emergency. Recommendation 6.3: A network of emergency preparedness researchers, older adults, unpaid caregivers, volunteers and providers needs to be created to encourage partnerships in the ongoing unpaid evaluation of emergency preparedness interventions targeting older adults. Network members should advocate for an increased focus on emergency preparedness research among the various societies or journals that they are members of. Recommendation 6.4: There is a need to focus on research about unpaid caregivers and emergency preparedness to better instruct unpaid caregivers on how to take care of their vulnerable family members and friends during an emergency. Recommendation 6.5: There is a need to focus on research about emergency preparedness and response in Canadian community and congregate living settings for older adults (e.g. nursing, retirement and group homes and assisted living facilities). Research should:
Determine the existing levels of preparedness across these environments as well as highlight the challenges they face in being prepared.
Characterize the impact of the emergency on the older adult population and emerging best practices on how to address it as soon as it emerges. 15 BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT The Current State of Emergency Outcomes for Older Adults in Canada Natural disasters and infectious disease pandemics are two of the most frequent emergencies that pose great risks to public health and safety because of their ability to disrupt the day-to-day functioning of a population. As a result, emergency preparedness and response efforts include both large and small scale strategies designed to minimize harm, particularly to vulnerable groups such as older adults, defined as those aged 65 and older. Over the last decade, several large scale emergencies have highlighted the particular vulnerabilities of older adults who were the most affected by them. For instance, in 1998, ice storms resulted in widespread power outages across Quebec that saw 600,000 people, that included older adults, forced from their homes and a high mortality rate among older persons due to a lack of available heating equipment, less optimal housing conditions, and poor coordination between emergency, health and social services (Plouffe, Kang, & Kalache, 2008; Steuter-Martin & Pindera, 2018). Over a decade later in 2010, more than half of all deaths resulting from heat waves in Quebec were among persons aged 75 years or older (Bustinza, Lebel, Gosselin, Belanger, & Chebana, 2013). In the 2017 wildfires in British Columbia and floods in Quebec, older adults were impacted the hardest due to their greater levels of vulnerability, while poorly coordinated protocols left them more vulnerable due to delays in initiating evacuation procedures (Global News, 2017; Roslin, 2018). More recently, 97% of Canada’s first 10,000 COVID-19 deaths have occurred in older Canadians 60 years of age and older (Grant, 2020), with the greatest proportion of deaths occurring in long-term care and retirement homes (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2020; Government of Canada, 2020). Close to 1700 outbreaks have been reported in LTC and retirement homes, accounting for approximately 80% of all COVID-19 deaths in Canada (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2020; NIA Long- Term Care COVID-19 Tracker Open Data Working Group, 2020). The impacts that emergencies such as natural disasters and infectious disease pandemics have on older adults rarely end once the emergency has ended. Interruptions to medical care, especially for those living with chronic conditions, can cause increased morbidity and mortality in the months during and following a large scale emergency. Despite the gaps in emergency preparedness and response efforts that have been highlighted over the past decade, older adults continue to experience a greater proportion of emergencyrelated mortality rates and emergency-related declines in health, while continuing to report lower rates of emergency preparedness (Al- Rousan, Rubenstein, & Wallace , 2014; Brunkard, Namulanda, & Ratard, 2008; Cherniack, Sandals, Brooks, & Mintzer, 2008; Gibson & Hayunga, 2006; Kosa, Cates, Karns, Godwin, & Coppings, 2012; Mokdad, et al., 2005; Marshall, Ryan, Robertson, Street, & Watson, 2009). As the baby boomers continue to age, it is expected that the population of older adults aged 65 years Background and Context CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 16 and older in Canada will significant increase over the next few decades. By 2030, the proportion of the total Canadian population aged 65 and over will increase to upwards of 23.4%, from 17.2% of the overall population in 2018 (Statistics Canada, 2020). This proportion is projected to increase reaching upwards of 29.5% of the overall population by 2068 (Statistics Canada, 2020). This rapid growth in our population of older Canadians will increase the demand for emergency services to meet the emergency preparedness, response, and recovery needs of those individuals at greater risk for negative outcomes. The need for more age-friendly emergency response services is further supported by the expected increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events that can in turn lead to infectious disease outbreaks when they result in changes to human conditions or exacerbate existing health conditions (Field, Barros, Dokken, Mach, & Mastrandrea, 2014; Kouadio, Aljunid, Kamigaki, Hammah, & Oshitani, 2012). Further, in addition to post-disaster infectious disease outbreaks, the frequency and risk of epidemics and pandemics are always imminent given the population density in metropolitan cities and the openness of country borders that facilitate travel and migration. Consequently, ensuring the safety of older adults will require greater efforts in the overall area of emergency management for this growing population, and especially for those living in congregate settings. Studies have highlighted the socioeconomic factors that make older adults more vulnerable to experiencing adverse outcomes during and after emergencies, and the insufficiencies present among various levels of emergency management to respond to the vulnerabilities of this group (Aldrich & Benson, 2008; Banks, 2013; Bustinza, Lebel, Gosselin, Belanger, & Chebana, 2013; Tricco, Lillie, Soobiah, Perrier, & Straus, 2013). Particularly, older adults have been found to experience more adverse outcomes during an emergency compared to their younger counterparts due to their complex and individualized capabilities and challenges. As one gets older, age-related changes begin to take place, such as a natural gradual weakening of one’s immune system known as immunosenesence, and an increased chance of having a chronic health condition or multi-morbidity, living in social isolation, and experiencing declines in sensory, cognitive and physical functioning (Aldrich & Benson, 2008; Kosa, Cates, Karns, Godwin, & Coppings, 2012). While these changes are often sufficiently managed in an older adult’s day-today life, emergencies such as natural disasters and infectious disease pandemic can impose additional barriers to accessing resources and supports, and put older adults with complex needs at an increased risk of harm. Emergency management for older adults can be further weakened by health care providers’ low levels of emergency and geriatric specific education and training; limited provision of community-based emergency training programs for older adults and their unpaid caregivers; statutes and regulations that impose barriers to individual preparedness; and lack of a standardized approach to emergency 17 BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT preparedness nation-wide (Pesiridis, Galanis, Sourtzi, & Kalokairinou, 2014; Scott, Carson, & Greenwell, 2010; Wyte-Lake, Claver, Griffin, & Dobalian, 2014). However, there exists a diverse continuum of capacity amongst older adults, from reduced capacity due to physical and cognitive impairments, as noted above, to others who are active, engaged members of their communities. Older adults should be empowered to reach out and connect with their peers, particularly those who are more vulnerable, to support each other in anticipating and preparing for emergencies. The critical role of older adults who act as the sole or primary caregivers of other older adults, whether they be partners, family members, or friends, must also be recognized and supported. To address this gap in emergency preparedness members of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council (ARC SAC) and the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) Policy Expert Round Table on Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults agreed to conduct a scientific review of the latest evidence, current available legislation, and policies, in order to develop a set of recommendations that were then further reviewed and strengthened by a broader panel of experts with specific expertise in the fields of social work, education, public health, research, health policy, emergency management, geriatrics, and nursing. Through a rigorous consensus decision-making process, a comprehensive final set of 25 evidenceinformed recommendations were ultimately developed and endorsed by this group. To bring this work into the Canadian context, members of the ARC Scientific Advisory Council from the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) and the National Institute on Ageing (NIA) reviewed the ARC/AAN’s findings, further reviewed additionally relevant Canadian literature, policy and legislative aspects, and hosted an Expert Policy Round Table on Emergency Preparedness for Older Canadians in May, 2019, in Toronto, ON. The Canadian Round Table brought together 18 experts from a variety of fields, including social work, education, research, health policy, emergency management, geriatrics, and nursing. The Policy Expert Round Table reviewed the ARC/ AAN’s original 25 recommendations, particularly the legislative recommendations, which had been updated for the Canadian context, and any additional evidence applicable to older Canadians. The majority of recommendations were generally applicable to Canada and were agreed to be appropriate and supported by the Round Table. The subsequent advent of the COVID-19 pandemic invited an even broader review of the literature to include a focus on infectious disease pandemics and opportunities to address gaps in preparedness. This report’s reference panel initially put forward 26 final recommendations that aimed to implement emergency preparedness-related changes among the following relevant emergency management domains: 1) individuals and unpaid caregivers; 2) community services and programs; 3) health care professionals and emergency response personnel; 4) care institutions and organizations; 5) legislation/policy; and 6) research. The CRC/NIA’s later decision to expand the report’s focus to also address preparedness for CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 18 infectious disease pandemics ultimately resulted in a final total of 29 recommendations being presented in this document. Report Recommendations Development Approach Initial Scoping Review and Development of an Ecological Analytical Framework In the initiation of this project, the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and the American Academy of Nursing Policy Expert Round Table on Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults began a scoping review of the agerelated factors that make older adults more vulnerable to adverse outcomes during and after an emergency, with the primary focus being on large scale natural disasters. For the purpose of the scoping review, a disaster was defined as a natural or man-made phenomenon that causes interruptions or loss of life. Disasters based on this definition included the following: floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, nuclear explosions, and complex disasters. Disasters arising from malicious biological and chemical agents, and terrorism were excluded. The impact of natural disasters is far reaching and can lead to other types of disasters that, though unintended, can be severe in nature and cause harm. Examples of such disasters include health care disasters that can be defined as a disaster that prevents access to health care in times of emergency (Swathi, Gonzalez, & Delgado, 2017). A health care disaster also happens when the destructive effects of natural disasters can overwhelm the ability of a given area or community to meet the demand for Health Care (Zibulewsky, 2001). It is important to note the clear causal link between natural disasters and health care disasters, as natural disasters can lead to a breakdown in the health system’s responsiveness to the need for health services following an emergency leaving affected communities without access to Health Care. The scope and focus of this search was primarily on natural disasters, which have produced some results that have overlapping content but this was not the primary focus. Older adults were found to be more vulnerable to adverse outcomes during and after emergencies due to seven factors: an increased prevalence of chronic health conditions, physical, cognitive and sensory disabilities, weak social networks, accessibility and equity issues, and limited financial resources. This literature review also identified older adults and unpaid caregivers, community services and programs, health care professionals and emergency response personnel, care institutions and organizations, policy/legislation, and research as the relevant domains that contribute to disaster/emergency management for older adults. Adequate emergency preparedness was found to depend on synergy between relevant emergency management domains in order to mitigate the factors creating increased vulnerability among older adults during emergencies. Surrounding five of the six emergency management domains, and the seven factors of vulnerability, is the domain of research. It can identify and help to fill the existing gaps in knowledge and behaviour. 19 BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Framework was adapted to illustrate the interacting relationship of the seven factors of vulnerability and the six emergency management domains identified (Figure 1). Systematic Review Process A subsequent systematic literature review was conducted with an expanded scope for the Canadian version that included a focus on preparedness for pandemics and spread of infectious diseases in addition to the original focus on preparedness for natural disasters. The objective of the systematic review was to examine existing gaps in emergency preparedness for pandemics among the six previously identified emergency management domains for older adults (see Figure 1) and to determine successful interventions. For the purposes of the expanded focus, a pandemic was defined as “an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people” (Kelly, 2011). Preparedness was defined as the capacity to respond to a public health threat that includes natural disasters and infectious disease outbreaks (Patel, et al., 2008). Research Older Adults and Caregivers Finances Care Institutions and Organizations (System Policies & Procedures) Health Care Professionals and Emergency Responders Community Services and Programs Research Policy/Legislation Figure 1. Adapted from: Bronfenbrenner, U (1977). Toward an experimental ecology of human development. American Psychologist, 32, 513- 531. ~ ~,, '). 4, :o.¾. ., ,, Research PsYcholOfJ/ca/ and Socia/ Factors 4,Jeasau ~ 'i \ ".--\ '\ \ 9 i /ft;> i if .I. CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 20 The review was guided by the six research questions listed below (for a detailed summary of the search strategy, see Appendix A). 1. Individuals and Unpaid Caregivers Domain Question 1: What are the factors that make older adults more vulnerable to adverse outcomes during an emergency compared to younger adults? 1.1. Are there age and/or function-related factors that make older adults more vulnerable to adverse outcomes compared to younger adults? 1.2.
What is the incidence of psychological distress among older adults following an emergency (natural disaster or pandemic) compared to younger adults?
Is there a difference in the incidence of psychological distress among older adults across different socio-demographic factors (that is, education, income, race, geography, etc.) following an emergency (natural disaster or pandemic)?
Is there a difference in the incidence of psychological distress among older adults with dementia, dementia related disorders or other cognitive impairments? 1.3. Are there specific actions caregivers of older adults should pursue to minimize adverse outcomes of older adults they care for during or after an emergency (natural disaster or pandemic)? 2. Community-Based Services and Programs Domain Question 2: What are the strategies and resources that can be leveraged at the community and program levels to improve emergency (natural disasters or pandemic) preparedness for older adults? 2.1. Is there a need for more geriatric-focused supportive care strategies to better prepare older adults and/or family caregivers for emergencies? 2.2. Are conventional emergency preparedness resources effective at facilitating knowledge acquisition and behavioral change among older adults and/or family caregivers with low-literacy skills or among those who are not fluent in English or French? 2.3. What are the most effective formats that can be used to communicate guidance on preparedness, warning messages and messages on how to access recovery resources in times of pending emergency among older adults and/or family caregivers?
What types of community/not-for-profit led interventions can be implemented to facilitate positive recovery outcomes for older adults and/or family caregivers following an emergency (natural disaster or pandemic)? 3. Health Care Professionals and Emergency Response Personnel Domain Question 3: What are the strategies and resources that can be leveraged to improve emergency response among health care professionals and emergency response personnel during and after an emergency (natural disaster or pandemic)? 21 3.1. Is there a need for an increase in the use of geriatric-focused triage care strategies when assessing the needs of older adults before or during an emergency (natural disaster or pandemic)? 3.2. What are the age- and function-specific training methods that health care professionals and emergency response personnel should follow when caring for and assisting older adults with varying capabilities and limitations during an emergency (natural disaster or pandemic)?
What are the most effective methods to teach age- and function-specific education to facilitate knowledge acquisition and behavioral change? 3.3. What core competencies or skills do health care professionals and emergency response personnel need to facilitate the delivery of culturally appropriate and safe care during emergencies (natural disasters or pandemic) to older adults with different cultural and religious beliefs/preferences?
Are there specific accommodations needed for Indigenous older adults in the event of relocation following an emergency (natural disaster or pandemic)?
Are there differences in methods for providing support to Indigenous (on or offreserve) and other racialized older adults who live in Canada? 4. Care Institutions and Organizations Domain Question 4: What are the strategies and resources that can be leveraged at the organizational or institutional level to improve emergency (natural disaster or pandemic) preparedness and recovery efforts for older adults? 4.1 Is there a need for more geriatric-focused supportive care strategies or design elements to better prepare organizations or institutions (relief agencies and shelters) that may be required to provide care for older adults during or after an emergency (natural disaster or pandemic)? 5. LegislationPolicy Domain Question 5: Are there legislations or policies have been developed or adopted at the municipal, provincial or federal level to improve emergency (natural disaster or pandemic) preparedness and recovery efforts for older adults? 5.1. Is there evidence that shows the effectiveness/ positive impact of any particular piece of legislation or policy? 5.2. Is there any evidence to suggest any existing legislation or policy may contravene what existing evidence would support? 6. Research Domain Question 6: What research or evidence gaps have been noted in the literature that could better inform efforts to improve emergency preparedness and recovery efforts for older adults? BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 22 Search Strategy The search for academic literature was conducted in two phases. Phase one focused on natural disasters and was implemented between June 2017 and April 2019. Phase two focused on infectious disease pandemics and was implemented between March and May 2020. Searches for both phases were restricted to databases with literature relevant to the fields of medicine, public health, nursing, and health care, which included MEDLINE, HealthStar, UpToDate, Clinical Key, EBSCOhost, Cochrane, CINAHL, Scopus and Google Scholar. The reference lists of relevant articles were also manually searched. Phase one search was restricted to articles published in English between 2008 and 2019. Phase two had no date restrictions but limited articles to only those published in English. The search parameters were focused on identifying gaps that were not addressed by existing evidence based guidelines published by established agencies and public health authorities such as Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Ontario (PHO), etc. Study Selection The screening and shortlisting process was identical in both phases. The titles and abstracts of the populated articles were screened to identify peer-reviewed articles that were eligible for a full text review. Articles were selected based on the following inclusion criteria: titles and abstracts that contained the search terms or content relevant to emergency management outcomes for one of the six identified domains. Relevant populations of older adults included those that live in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, independently at home, and those that are homebound or homeless. There were no geographic restrictions for the study population. All articles that met the inclusion criteria were saved in the reference manager Mendeley for future review and referencing. Legislative and policy documents were retrieved using Google. A search to identify established best practice guidelines for infection control was also conducted using Google. The searches yielded a combined total of 4390 academic literature as well as 15 legislative/policy oriented documents and 19 guidelines. After screening and full-text review, 52 peer reviewed papers were selected for data extraction and inclusion in addition to the 15 legislative/policy documents and 19 guidelines. Review of the findings led to the generation of 29 evidence-informed recommendations. Media Scan and Content Analysis of Reports Given the focus of Domain 5 on policy/legislation, a media scan was conducted as a parallel process to identify news reports, discussion papers and policy/legislative documents from provincial to federal levels. A content analysis of predominantly media reports was conducted to identify disasters or emergencies in Canada that had not been captured by the academic literature between 2008 and 2018. News reports were reviewed for statistics that were reported on resulting causalities or number of people impacted. The scan was conducted with a special focus on rural and remote regions, and the First Nation, Inuit and Metis populations of Canada. Key themes were identified from the content analysis that were then integrated into the white paper. 23 Expert Interviews To gather information on the preparedness, response and recovery experience of Indigenous Older Adults in Canada, the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) undertook a series of interviews with provincial emergency response personnel in four provinces that highlighted key issues and good practices observed through the experience of collaborating with Indigenous communities on preparedness activities, as well as through CRC operational support in evacuation and recovery operations. The themes identified through these interviews informed the text that supports recommendation 3.3. Consensus Decision-Making Process In June 2018, the American Red Cross (ARC) Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) and the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) Policy Expert Round Table on Emergency/Disaster Preparedness for Older Adults hosted a Policy Expert Round Table on Emergency/Disaster Preparedness for Older Adults (Policy Expert Round Table) to evaluate the findings of our scientific review and the feasibility of the proposed recommendations. To facilitate an evaluation of the recommendations and potential remaining gaps in emergency preparedness, a consensus decision-making process was adapted for the Policy Expert Round Table because it is an effective method of facilitating a collective contribution to a solution or intervention by encouraging dialogue, with the aim of considering and addressing the opinions and concerns of each of the participating experts (Seeds for Change, 2010). Consensus decisionmaking is a problem-solving process that aims to develop solutions that are supported by all the contributors. This is in contrast to voting processes, which generate solutions that reflect and satisfy the opinions of the majority of the contributors, but not the entire group (Seeds for Change, 2010). Nineteen experts were invited to participate in the Policy Expert Round Table; however, only 15 participants were able to attend. The final group consisted of experts from a variety of backgrounds related to disaster preparedness for older adults, including social work, education, public health or public health research, health policy, emergency management, geriatrics, and nursing. To better facilitate engagement in the topic during group discussions, all the participants were emailed a copy of the summary of evidence tables from the American systematic literature review. This gave the participants an opportunity to become familiar with the findings that were used to formulate the initial recommendations and guide any external research of their own which could later be used in discussion and amendments to the recommendations. In August 2018, a draft of this US report was sent to all attendees of the Policy Expert Round Table, and additional experts and organizations who were not able to attend the Policy Expert Round Table. This gave all attendees another opportunity to provide final critiques of the recommendations, and all non-attendees an opportunity to contribute feedback to the recommendations. The combined contribution of the two rounds of review ultimately generated the 25 final recommendations presented in a white paper titled “Closing the Gap: Advancing Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery for Older Adults.” BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 24 In May 2019, the Canadian Red Cross and the National Institute on Ageing came together to host a similar Expert Policy Round Table using an identical process to adapt the initial recommendations to a Canadian context. The Round Table brought together 18 experts from a variety of fields, including social work, education, research, health policy, emergency management, geriatrics, and nursing. The Policy Expert Round Table used a consensus-based decision-making process to review and critique the existing scientific evidence that was retrieved during the scientific review, as well as the endorsed recommendations from the American Red Cross/ American Academy of Nursing Policy Expert Round Table on Emergency/Disaster Preparedness for Older Adults. Review of the recommendations by the panel led to the generation of 26 initial evidence-informed recommendations that aim to reduce the occurrence of adverse emergencyrelated outcomes for older adults by increasing emergency preparedness among individuals and unpaid caregivers, and leverage appropriate emergency-related resources and strategies among the remaining emergency management domains. To begin the decision-making process, the existing issues related to emergency preparedness, and the proposed recommendations for intervention, were introduced and explained to all the participants in one large group. This gave the participants an opportunity to briefly review the methodology, a summary of evidence tables and the recommendations for intervention. The recommendations were divided into six sections based on the emergency management domains that were determined to be responsible for adopting or enforcing a given recommendation. After reviewing the supporting documents, three rounds of breakout sessions divided the participants into smaller groups. Breakout session one was used to review the list of recommendations for individuals and unpaid caregivers, community services and programs, and health care professionals and emergency response personnel. Breakout session two was used to review the list of recommendations for care institutions and organizations, and legislation/policy. Breakout session three was used to review the list of recommendations for research. Participants were able to select which breakout session groups they wanted to be placed in by indicating their preferences during the week prior to the Policy Expert Round Table. Since there were 18 participants and six sets of recommendations, each panellist participated in one recommendation discussion per breakout session. In their discussion groups, each participant was asked to consider the following discussion questions when reviewing the recommendations:
What issues/topics related to this area are missing from the evidence available?
Are the current recommendations adequate to address the issues related to this area?
What further additions/edits do you suggest to the current recommendations and why? The goal of the research questions was to facilitate discussion regarding the feasibility of the recommendations and whether or not the proposed recommendations sufficiently addressed the current gaps in emergency preparedness, response and recovery for older adults. The time allocated to the breakout sessions was used to provide their comments and 25 critiques on the initial recommendations, make amendments to the initial recommendations, or propose additional recommendations that were not included in the initial draft, as well as to discuss and reach consensus on issues related to comprehension and syntax of each of the recommendations that were delegated to a specific group. A consensus was required before new recommendations were added to the list, or omissions or amendments were made to the initial recommendations. If participants reached a point of disagreement within their group, facilitators probed participants for additional comments, clarification, justification or new approaches to problem-solving in order to reach a consensus within the group. After the participants reviewed all the recommendations in their breakout groups, the Policy Expert Round Table concluded with a final face-to-face meeting with all 18 participants. This meeting gave each breakout group an opportunity to present the final copy of their proposed recommendations drafted from the outcomes of their discussions, and also provided the participants who were not present in the remaining two groups an opportunity to discuss the feasibility of these recommendations as well. Review of the recommendations by the panel led to the generation of the 26 evidenceinformed recommendations that aim to reduce the occurrence of adverse emergency related outcomes for older adults by increasing emergency preparedness among individuals and unpaid caregivers, and leverage appropriate emergencyrelated resources and strategies among the remaining emergency management domains. In May 2020, given the devastating impact that the COVID-19 pandemic was having on older adults, both the CRC and NIA agreed to expand this report’s focus to also include infectious disease epidemics. This led to a second phase systematic review being conducted to inform the updating of the existing recommendations and the creation of three additional ones. The report and its now 29 recommendations were circulated among the attendees of the Policy Expert Round Table, and additional experts and organizations who were not able to attend the Policy Expert Round Table in August 2019. This gave all attendees another opportunity to provide final critiques of the recommendations, and all non-attendees an opportunity to contribute feedback to the recommendations. The combined contribution of the rounds of review ultimately generated the 29 final evidence-informed expert recommendations presented in this white paper. BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 26 Domain 1: Individuals and Unpaid Caregivers Older adults, in particular those who are living with chronic health conditions, are low-income and/or have low literacy skills, tend to disproportionately experience adverse outcomes during emergencies. There is also an opportunity for less-vulnerable older adults to play an important role in reaching out and connecting with their peers (and their unpaid caregivers) in helping them anticipate and prepare for emergencies. Older adults can best ensure their needs and concerns are represented in the emergency management space, and should be encouraged to volunteer their time before, during and after emergencies. There is a clear opportunity to develop, implement and evaluate emergency preparedness and response activities at the individual level that can better improve knowledge and recovery outcomes for older adults and their unpaid caregiver(s). An investigation of the vulnerabilities of older adults during emergency was guided by Research Question 1: What are the factors that make older adults more vulnerable to adverse outcomes during an emergency compared to younger adults? (see Development Approach). The search strategies that were used yielded a combined total of 4,390 peer-reviewed journal articles, 13 of which were used along with five guidance documents for data extraction related to this specific question. The review of these 18 resources revealed that older adults who are reliant on medications, and life-sustaining or assistive devices to support their health and wellbeing, have an increased risk for experiencing an adverse outcome during an emergency. Older adults are also more susceptible to infectious diseases after diseases or as a result of a pandemic that may exacerbate their pre-existing health conditions. Consequently, in response to this gap, nine evidence-informed expert recommendations were developed with the aim of increasing the levels of emergency preparedness among older adults with health- and/or function-related declines, and their unpaid caregiver(s). Recommendation 1.1 Older adults and their unpaid caregiver(s) should be provided with tailored, easy-to-access information and resources related to emergency preparedness and guidance on how to develop customized emergency plans, that consider the functional and health needs of older adults and appropriate strategies to support infection/disease prevention. Volunteer representatives of older Canadians and their unpaid caregivers should be recruited and involved in training material development and implementation, to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected. Recommendation 1.2 Older adults who are reliant on mobility aids should remove or minimize barriers affecting their ability to evacuate, and take steps to ensure their safety within their surroundings. Recommendation 1.3 If registries for people with functional and other needs, including persons with disabilities, have been established by local emergency response agencies, older adults and/or their unpaid caregiver(s) should register so they can be better assisted/supported during emergencies. 27 DOMAIN 1: INDIVIDUALS AND UNPAID CAREGIVERS Recommendation 1.4: Older adults who have a sensory impairment, such as a visual or hearing disability, should take additional precautions to prepare themselves for emergencies. Understanding the Unique Personal and Functional Needs of Older Adults During Emergencies An older adult’s access to the support services that they require to maintain their overall quality of life and independence, such as home care and community services, can be disrupted during emergencies, or while being evacuated or sheltering-in-place. These circumstances can be further challenged by a lack of age-friendly services, a lack of accommodations for older adults at shelters, and concerns around pet safety and evacuation. Indeed, households who own pets are less likely to evacuate than those without pets. This is likely because people are concerned that they will not be evacuated with their pets, which is often cited as one of the main contributors to why people do not evacuate during emergencies (Benson, 2017; Whitehead, et al., 2000). One of the many strategies that can be leveraged to improve emergency preparedness among older adults is to encourage self-preparedness through the provision of easy access to emergency preparedness educational materials and planning guides that are tailored to older adults. Many organizations currently provide access to online emergency preparedness resources, such as the Government of Canada’s Get Prepared Campaign and the Canadian Red Cross Be Ready Campaign, which provide resources specific to a variety of emergencies and links to additional community resources (Canadian Red Cross, 2019; Government of Canada, 2015). While many of these resources aim to encourage older adults to prepare for a variety of emergencies, they do not provide solutions to overcome the unique challenges that many older adults face when preparing for, responding to, and recovering from an emergency. To address this current gap in emergency preparedness resources for older adults, Recommendation 1.1 aims to encourage older adults and their unpaid caregivers to access preparedness information and resources tailored for older adults, and to be particularly mindful of their functional and health-related needs when developing an emergency plan. For those organizations developing and distributing these resources, involving older adults in preparation and delivery is critical to ensuring the needs, concerns, and perspectives of older Canadians are considered (Marshall, Ryan, Robertson, Street, & Watson, 2009; Al-Rousan, Rubenstein, & Wallace , 2014). Resources should also be tailored to meet the language needs of diverse communities to increase accessibility where needed among older adults from racialized communities. Emergencies such as pandemics affect the most vulnerable groups and particularly those who experience social adversities that are exacerbated by the intersection of factors such as age, race and income (Navaranjan, Rosella, Kwong, Campitelli, & Crowcroft, 2014; Tricco, Lillie, Soobiah, Perrier, & Straus, 2013; Blackmon, et al., 2017). By making emergency preparedness information more accessible and encouraging older adults from diverse groups and their unpaid caregivers to take the initiative in evaluating their needs and developing appropriate plans to accommodate their expected challenges, this can help older CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 28 adults be more confident in their abilities to be self-reliant when responding to an emergency or provide the additional resources needed to help emergency response personnel better assist older adults with functional limitations. Older age is often associated with a decline in motor functioning which can put older adults at risk of harm if they are unable to access their daily assistive devices, such as walkers and wheelchairs, or their unpaid caregivers during an evacuation (Bhalla, Burgess, Frey, & Hardy, 2015). Health professionals such as occupational therapists can be a valuable resource in the preparation and development of an emergency plan that factors in the functional needs of older adults reliant on assistive devices. Occupational therapists can also identify and help address environmental barriers to accommodate the needs of older adults and people with disabilities in order to facilitate effective emergency preparedness (Jeong, Law, DeMatteo, Stratford, & Kim, 2016). For example, at evacuation shelters, people with disabilities require ramps wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs (American Occupation Therapy Association, 2006). In addition to functional needs, emergency plans should also reflect strategies to prevent health emergencies resulting from either a pandemic or infections following natural disasters such as floods (Kouadio, Aljunid, Kamigaki, Hammah, & Oshitani, 2012). Consequently, emergency preparedness resources for older adults should include strategies for the primary prevention of infectious disease transmission in the home (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020; Finkelstein, Prakash, Nigmatulina, McDevitt, & Larson, 2013). However, as outlined in Recommendation 1.2, by preparing to overcome barriers to preparedness, such as environmental barriers that prevent successfully and timely evacuation, older adults can independently ensure that they have developed a more effective emergency evacuation plan. Strategies to address environmental barriers include installing wheelchair ramps, evacuation chairs and/or arranging for home evacuation and transportation assistance from a family member, friend, or unpaid caregiver, (Government of Canada, 2018). Allied health professionals such as occupational therapists can help adapt living spaces in order to maximize independence, safety and security, and are therefore able to plan accordingly for safe and effective evacuations (Fagan & Sabata, 2011; Stark, Landsbaum, Palmer, Somerville, & Morris, 2009). The Potential Role of Registries for People with Functional and Other Needs, Including Persons with Disabilities Registries for people with functional and other needs, including persons with disabilities, who live in the community are resources and data sources that have been established in many municipalities to provide emergency response agencies with a reference of the functional needs of residents in a community to allow emergency responders to better serve them. While registries can act as a resource for quickly locating persons with functional or other needs, it is not being recommended as a primary source of assistance for older adults or emergency response agencies to prepare for and respond to emergencies. This is because governments and aid agencies cannot guarantee that their assistance will be provided due to the high demands for response assistance during emergencies, which limits the availability of these services. In addition, Round Table discussion of the limitations of registries identified 29 DOMAIN 1: INDIVIDUALS AND UNPAID CAREGIVERS that vulnerability can be event-specific, and these registries can quickly become outdated, and have proven to be sometimes ineffective at identifying individuals in their target audience because many persons avoid registering because they do not consider themselves to be vulnerable, or out of fear of the stigmas associated with being labeled as ‘vulnerable persons.’ There was also concern that registries often instill the incorrect assumption that persons who have registered will be provided with priority assistance during an emergency. In reality, severe emergencies such as natural disasters and pandemics can be so resource restricting and demanding that emergency services cannot be guaranteed regardless of the severity of an individual’s condition or needs. With these limitations in mind, the Round Table participants arrived at a consensus that older adults who live in municipalities that have established registries should consider registering for this service, however, establishment of these registries should not be a requirement, as stated in Recommendation 1.3. Instead, it is intended that Recommendation 1.1 through Recommendation 1.9 will facilitate sufficient self-preparedness at the individual level by providing the guidance needed to develop an emergency plan that is customized to meet the health and functional needs of an individual older adult. Supporting Older Adults with Sensory Impairments Vision or hearing impairments can make it challenging for older adults to safely respond during an emergency, such as when navigating their surroundings at night or in an unfamiliar environment, or being able to effectively recognize emergency warnings (Cloyd & Dyer, 2010). While many preparedness resources already recommend that persons with sensory impairments make changes to their environment or take extra precautions that will make it easier for them to protect themselves during an emergency, Recommendation 1.4 proposes additional considerations to better prepare older adults with sensory impairments to respond to emergencies. Older adults with hearing impairments may find it difficult to hear emergency updates, instructions or communicate in a noisy environment (Banks, 2013; Cloyd & Dyer, 2010). To better assist older adults with a hearing impairment to communicate with emergency personnel, strategies should be adopted to help notify assisting personnel of their hearing impairment as outlined in the Government of Canada’s Emergency Preparedness Guide for People with Disabilities/Special Needs (Government of Canada, 2018). Strategies include moving their lips without making a sound or pointing to their ear/hearing aid. An effective strategy for notifying others of their hearing impairment will help signal to assisting personnel that they should adjust their communication approach to better accommodate persons with a hearing impairment. Many emergency preparedness guides urge for the installation of alert devices and emergency plans that incorporate oral communication with support network members; however, these guides often neglect to provide recommendations specific to persons who are hearing impaired, and therefore may be unable to use traditional emergency devices (Government of Canada, 2018). To tailor emergency communication plans to better meet the capabilities of persons with CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 30 hearing impairments, non-verbal communication devices, such as text messages and teletypewriters should be adopted for communication. Since these communication devices do not depend on verbal communication, they can allow persons with hearing impairments to quickly and effectively contact support network members to ask for assistance, provide updates on their status and location, and better mimic everyday communication devices used by persons who are hearing impaired. Additionally, emergency plans that encourage the installation of alert devices that use lights or vibrations in addition to sound, such as bed shaker alarm devices, may be more effective at alerting persons with hearing impairments of an emergency than conventional alert devices that solely produce loud sounds when activated. Plans should also include additional batteries to power devices in case of a long-term power outage. Persons who are visually impaired are likely to experience challenges in navigating their surroundings during an emergency, particularly in a poorly lit shelter or in unfamiliar places, which can cause them to respond more slowly to emergencies or have difficulty following guidance outlined in emergency protocols (Lamb & O'Brien, 2010). To increase preparedness and enable older adults and their unpaid caregivers to respond effectively to emergency directives assistive devices, such as mobility aids (canes, walkers), and strategies, such as, a buddy system or guide animals, should be incorporated into emergency plans. To plan for unexpected interruptions or evacuations, it is also recommended that older adults with visual impairments and/or their unpaid caregivers include alternative evacuation routes and transportation methods into their emergency plan. By tailoring their surroundings and their emergency plans to better meet their needs, older adults with sensory impairments can create a plan that will allow them to be prepared during an emergency. Recommendation 1.5: Older adults who live with chronic health conditions should maintain a readily accessible list of their current medical conditions, treatments (medications, durable medical equipment, supplies and other health care needs), health care providers, and emergency contacts, including substitute decision makers (SDMs). Recommendation 1.6 Older adults who take medications should work with their health care providers to ensure they have access to at least a 30-day supply of medications during an emergency. Recommendation 1.7 Older adults who are reliant on medical devices that require electricity, should ensure they have back-up power supplies in place, especially if required while sheltering-in-place.
Older adults and/or their unpaid caregivers should seek assistance with obtaining and maintaining an alternative power source at home, if required, such as when being required to move heavy equipment and fuel or in accessing these resources in rural locations, and operating equipment. 31 DOMAIN 1: INDIVIDUALS AND UNPAID CAREGIVERS Supporting Older Adults with Chronic Health Issues The resource-straining effects of severe emergencies continue to threaten access to resources needed to support the complex needs of older adults with chronic health conditions during an emergency. Emergencies such as natural disasters can detrimentally affect one’s health by not only disrupting health services but also by creating power outages that can interrupt medical interventions that depend on electricity, such as life-supporting devices or medications that must be refrigerated during storage. During the 1998 ice storm at least 600,000 people, including older adults in long-term care institutions, were forced from their homes into hotels or other shelter with emergency power backup (Steuter-Martin & Pindera, 2018). Lack of mobility, pre-existing medical conditions, lack of heating equipment, less optimal housing conditions, and poor coordination between emergency, health and social services contributed to the high mortality rate among older Quebec residents. Older adults were at increased risk because of increasing frailty combined with social isolation among individuals (van Solm A. , 2016). Barriers to accessing electricity and medications can be detrimental to the health of older adults due to the high prevalence of chronic health conditions, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes within this subpopulation (National Council on Aging, 2018). Recommendation 1.5 aims to encourage the creation and/or incorporation of a resource for incorporating an individual’s medical history into their preparedness plan by encouraging older adults to prepare an outline of their medical condition(s), medical treatment(s) and their health care provider(s) and emergency contacts for their emergency kit. Having a summary of their medical history as a part of their emergency kit will help older adults minimize disruptions to their care during emergencies (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020; Kosatky, et al., 2009). In doing so, unpaid caregivers and health care providers who may be unfamiliar with their conditions will have the medical information necessary to effectively support their health needs, or continue their care in the case of a medical emergency or after relocation to a care facility or shelter. Improving Access to Necessary Medications During Emergencies Shortages of essential medications can often lead to an exacerbation of a pre-existing chronic medical condition. To prevent running out of medications and subsequent surges in medication refill requests during emergencies, as was experienced at the Staten Island University Hospital ED during Hurricane Sandy and at shelters during Hurricane Katrina, Recommendation 1.6 encourages older adults to work with their health care providers to obtain access to a supply of emergency medications for their emergency kit. It is essential that older adults explore their possible options for obtaining additional supplies of medications when preparing for emergencies (Ford, Trent, & Wickizer, 2016). Retrospective reviews of medical services provided during emergencies repeatedly cite surges in medication refill requests as a leading cause of medical services (Currier , King, Wofford , Daniel, & deShazo , 2006; Greenstein, Chacko, Ardolic, & Berwald, 2016; Jhung, et al., 2007; Kraushar & Rosenberg, 2015; Ochi, Hodgson, Landeg, Mayner, & Murray, CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 32 2014). This high demand for prescription medications suggests that evacuees may benefit from reduced barriers to accessing medications during emergencies, increased education from health care professionals on the benefits of preparation through having enough medication during an emergency, or increased access to more information on how to access emergency medication supplies prior to an emergency. It is important that older adults are provided with the resources to adequately self-prepare to support their pharmaceutical needs during an emergency. Supporting Older Adults with Electronic Life-Supporting Devices To prevent interruptions to the supply of power to electronic life-supporting devices, as outlined in Recommendation 1.7, preliminary efforts should be made to contact the user’s electricity company to inquire about priority service restoration during emergencies to persons who have life-supporting devices at home, as well as alternative power sources that can be safely used at home. It should be noted that older adults may require assistance with obtaining and maintaining an alternative power source at home, such as when moving a generator and fuel, as well as accessing these resources in rural locations and operating them. During these instances, support network members may be a reliable source of assistance. By establishing plans to safely, effectively, and independently support the health of an older adult who is dependent on a life-supporting device during an emergency, scenarios that can lead to deteriorating health and hospitalizations can be prevented/avoided. Recommendation 1.8 Older adults should be encouraged to continually maintain an adequate local support network that can be called upon during impending disasters and unexpected emergencies, especially if they live alone or lack easy access to relatives. Developing and Maintaining a Personal Support Network Having a support network can greatly aid older adults by providing the emotional and material resources they need to reduce the stress of preparing for and surviving an emergency. Many older adults live without a spouse or a family member, and are more susceptible to social isolation and/or dependent on unpaid caregivers for assistance (Gibson & Hayunga, 2006). Dependence on the assistance of unpaid caregivers is so prevalent among older adults that 90 per cent of adults who are 65 years or older and living with a disability who report receiving assistance are supported by unpaid caregivers, (Gibson & Hayunga, 2006) while approximately 50 per cent of adults who are 85 years or older report living alone (Fernandez, Byard, Lin, Benson, & Barbera, 2002). An emergency can leave those that rely on daily assistance stranded and unable to care for themselves if rescuers and their unpaid caregiver(s) cannot reach them. To reduce the negative impacts of social isolation, Recommendation 1.8 advises all older adults to establish a support network they can depend on for assistance in preparing for and responding to all emergencies relevant to their region. Support networks act as protective factors against emergency events, especially among seniors. According to a study done in Quebec, a well-established social network benefits older 33 DOMAIN 1: INDIVIDUALS AND UNPAID CAREGIVERS adults’ overall health during extreme heat events (Laverdiere, et al., 2016). For older adults with chronic health conditions, each member of their support network should be able to provide basic support for their health, such as access to their medication list, and should have the knowledge needed to identify and operate all required medical equipment. It is intended that by being able to provide basic support, support network members will be able to work together with the person they are caring for to provide the assistance needed to prevent interruptions to their medical care and avoid hospitalizations. It is also important that their support network consist of at least two people who live in close proximity to them because this will enable members to provide assistance within minutes, which will prevent prolonged periods of being incapacitated or stranded. Recommendation 1.9 Unpaid caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and/or other dementias should be supported to identify signs of distress, anxiety, or confusion, and use strategies to redirect attention and help them stay calm during emergencies. In addition, unpaid caregivers should be prepared to prevent wandering and have plans in place to locate their care recipients if they do wander or require medical intervention(s) during an emergency. Supporting the Unique Needs of Older Adults Living with Dementia A decline in working memory and an impaired ability to filter out irrelevant information are two changes in cognitive function associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). These changes can impede the more than 500,000 older Canadians living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias from identifying a disaster situation, following emergency preparedness recommendations, adapting to changes in their routine and environment, or following emergency warnings and instructions (Alzheimer Society of Canada, 2019; Alzheimer Society of Canada, 2018). In addition, new behavioural problems can arise, existing behaviours can become exacerbated, or function can deteriorate rapidly, if there are interruptions to the administration of dementia-related medications (Cloyd & Dyer, 2010). Re-establishing routines and valued occupations can also help disaster survivors cope with stress and anxiety (American Occupation Therapy Association, 2006). Dementia can also be compounded by the occurrence of delirium. Delirium is a state of confusion that comes on suddenly and is characterized by an inability to think clearly and pay attention, as well as an unawareness of one’s environment (American Delirium Society, 2015). The most common causes of delirium include infection, medications, electrolyte or blood sugar disturbances, hypoxemia, and low blood pressure (Cloyd & Dyer, 2010). Since individuals with more advanced dementias require daily assistance to help them perform their activities of daily living (ADLs) and protect them from dangers, it is necessary that their unpaid caregiver(s) be educated about the unique precautions that should be taken to reduce the occurrence of adverse behaviors and outcomes for the person they are caring for during an emergency. In particular, unpaid caregivers should receive education and support CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 34 on addressing distress, anxiety, wandering, and confusion; approaches such as validation and gentle persuasion to address moments of agitation; how to communicate with and soothe older adults living with ADRD when they are in crisis; and methods of communication that aid in orientation and memory retention. Comfort Keepers of Canada is an organization that provides home care for older adults. Due to its vast experience with seniors suffering from dementia, Comfort Keepers of Canada suggests tips on how to prevent older adults with dementia from wandering which also include maintaining a calm and stress-free environment, especially during an emergency. With the help of health care professionals, caregivers can be better equipped to provide care during an emergency. For example, nurses, therapists and social workers can all provide interventions that take the form of education, training, and support for caregivers of persons with dementia. These interventions can include behaviour management strategies, communication skills, cognitive reframing, and mindfulness techniques that have been shown to greatly increase a caregiver’s ability to care for their loved ones (Etters, Goodall, & Harrison, 2008; Piersol, et al., 2017; Sorensen, Pinquart, Habil, & Duberstein, 2002). Further, emergencies such as infectious disease pandemics can present unique challenges for unpaid caregivers. It is important for unpaid caregivers of older adults with Alzheimer’s or advanced dementia to stay abreast of any relevant information regarding the pandemic and use strategies that can protect themselves and the older adult (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). As an additional precaution, unpaid caregivers should register their care recipient for an emergency response service for persons with ADRD (Dyer, Regev, Burnett, Fest, & Cloyd, 2008), such as the Medic Alert Safely Home program, to provide emergency response assistance if their care recipient wanders away. 35 Community-based organizations and their staff are likely to be engaged in response and recovery efforts for older adults and their unpaid caregivers, depending on the level to which their services and programs support older adults and their unpaid caregivers. Therefore, a clear opportunity exists to develop, implement and evaluate preparedness and response activities for Community-Based Services and Programs that can better facilitate knowledge translation and exchange within the community and increase levels of preparedness, response and recovery efforts and outcomes among designated populations and those personnel that have the responsibility to support them. An investigation of existing community-based resources that can contribute to improving emergency preparedness, response and recovery outcomes for older adults was guided by Research Question 2: What are the strategies and resources that can be leveraged at the community and progam levels to improve emgergency (natural disaster or pandemic) preparedness for older adults? (see Development Approach). The search strategies that were used yielded a combined total of 4,390 peer-reviewed journal articles, five of which were used along with eight guidance documents for data extraction related to this specific question. The findings from these resources identified that there is a greater need for seniors-tailored community-integrated preparedness and response services to encourage and facilitate increased levels of preparedness and support recovery. Consequently, in response to this gap, four evidence-informed expert recommendations were developed with the aim of addressing identified opportunities noted for community-based services and programs to better support emergency preparedness and response. Recommendation 2.1 Access should be increased to tailored communitybased programs that educate older adults and their unpaid caregivers about emergencies that could affect their region and how best to prepare for and respond to them. Volunteer representatives of older Canadians should be recruited and involved in training material development and implementation, to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected.
Community-based programs and organizations should collaborate with regional public health authorities in developing and disseminating education resources on infection control, disease and injury prevention practices for older adults and their caregivers during emergencies. Improving Community-Based Emergency Preparedness Educational Programs Many of the adverse outcomes that older adults face during and after an emergency can be avoided by simply being informed about the dangers associated with the emergency that could affect their region, the appropriate precautions they should take to keep themselves safe, and adopting behavioural changes that facilitate adequate self-preparedness. When interviewed about their self-perceived preparedness for emergencies, older adults have been found to report low levels of preparedness. In a study that investigated nation-wide preparedness of older adults, 23.6% of the 1,304 participants interviewed reported that they had an emergency evacuation plan, 24.8% did not have access to a car or other form of transportation in case of an emergency, and DOMAIN 2: COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES AND PROGRAMS Domain 2: Community-Based Services and Programs CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 36 only 4.9% reported that at least one of their health care providers had discussed what to do during an emergency with them (Al-Rousan, Rubenstein, & Wallace , 2014). Another study was conducted by Marshall, Ryan, Robertson, Street and Watson to measure community knowledge about and attitudes toward the threat of a pandemic influenza as well as community acceptability of strategies to reduce its effect (Marshall, Ryan, Robertson, Street, & Watson, 2009). Computer-aided telephone interviews were conducted with a cross-sectional sample of rural and metropolitan residents of South Australia among 1,975 households. Of those who responded, 50% indicated that they had never heard of a pandemic influenza or were unaware of its meaning. Only 10% were extremely concerned about the threat of a pandemic influenza (Marshall, Ryan, Robertson, Street, & Watson, 2009). Despite the widespread publicity regarding influenza and advocacy to build a base level of awareness and understanding among the population, it was found that the majority of adults in the community, particularly older adults, were unaware of the possibility of a pandemic influenza strain (Marshall, Ryan, Robertson, Street, & Watson, 2009). To increase the low levels of emergency preparedness found in the general public, community-based emergency preparedness training courses have been piloted and found to be effective tools for encouraging behavioral change. For example, in the United States, PrepWise is a disaster preparedness program designed to assist older adults in developing a tailored home-based disaster preparedness plan (Catizone, 2017). During the training sessions, the participants were guided through seven learning modules: (1) knowing types of emergencies and what to do, (2) vulnerability assessment (alerts/warnings, evacuations, transportation, communication, sheltering, personal care, and medical care and equipment), (3) developing a personal emergency support network (formal list of family/friends and local community members), (4) making an emergency plan, (5) keeping a supply of medications, (6) making an emergency supply kit, and (7) making home, school, work, and car travel safer (Ashida, Robinson, Gay, Slagel, & Ramirez, 2017). Upon follow up, it was reported that enrolment in the PrepWise program led to a greater understanding of disaster preparedness requirements, such as preparing an emergency kit and designating alternative shelters to be used in the event of an emergency (Ashida, Robinson, Gay, & Ramirez, 2016; Ashida, Robinson, Gay, Slagel, & Ramirez, 2017). The PrepWise program was also found to encourage participants to seek out additional emergency support network members to whom they could turn to for help, in addition to family members most participants had identified prior to being enrolled in PrepWise (Ashida, Robinson, Gay, Slagel, & Ramirez, 2017). Similar successes in using community-based emergency preparedness training sessions were also found with the Ready CDC disaster preparedness education program, which was designed to increase knowledge, influence attitudes and strengthen community resiliency. Ready CDC uses the following tactics: (1) gain attention, (2) present stimulus material, (3) provide learning guidance, (4) elicit performance and provide feedback, and (5) enhance retention and transfer to facilitate behavioural change (Thomas, et al., 2018). When levels of behavioural 37 change through the Trans-Theoretical Model (TTM) were evaluated within a sample of 212 CDC staff and public health employees who had completed the Ready CDC disaster preparedness education program, 44 per cent of enrollees progressed to at least one stage higher or remained at the “maintenance” stage for assembling an emergency kit, and 45 per cent of participants progressed to at least one stage higher or remained at the “maintenance” stage for developing a written emergency plan (Thomas, et al., 2018). In addition, during follow up, the 25 per cent, 27 per cent, and 43 per cent of participants in the “pre-contemplation”, “contemplation”, and “preparation” stages at baseline for assembling an emergency kit, respectively, were identified as having progressed to the “preparation” stage (Thomas, et al., 2018). These results suggest that community-based emergency preparedness sessions are effective methods for conveying emergency preparedness information to the public and facilitating behavioural change. Recommendation 2.1 outlines a strategy for the development of nation-wide community-based emergency preparedness education programs for older adults. The program’s content should include, but not be limited to, modules about the different types of natural and man-made disasters that affect a given region, the effects and associated dangers of these disasters, as well as guidance and participatory learning on how to perform a personal vulnerability assessment, how to make an emergency plan and kit, the importance of developing and maintaining a social support network, and strategies and resources to aid recovery. For those organizations developing and distributing these materials, involving older adults and local public health authorities in the preparation and delivery is critical to ensuring the needs, concerns, and perspectives of older Canadians are considered. Engaging with local public health authorities will provide another layer of expertise and infrastructure in the development and evaluation of health interventions to mitigate negative health outcomes. In Canada, the University of Manitoba, along with the Natural Resources Institute, arranged a workshop for practitioners in risk and hazard management titled Canadian Risks and Hazards in 2004. The organizers believed that a workshop titled around disaster management or emergency management would not attract the wide range of participants that they desired because those fields may be perceived to be too narrow in focus (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, 2004). This issue emphasizes the lack of community knowledge on the connection between hazards, risks, disasters, and preparedness in Canada. Community-based emergency preparedness programs should aim to achieve accessibility for persons with lower literacy skills, non- English speakers and Indigenous seniors, and the incorporation of age-friendly considerations into its structure, such as appropriate visuals, and distribution of emergency kits that are easy to transport, if applicable. Community-based emergency preparedness training classes that have been adapted to address the unique needs of older adults should maximize the positive impact they have among older adults. Recommendation 2.2 Programs that provide disaster relief and/or essential community services, such as Meals on Wheels, and daily living assistance for older DOMAIN 2: COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES AND PROGRAMS CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 38 people (financial, medical, personal care, food and transportation) should receive emergency preparedness training and education as well as develop and adhere to plans and protocols related to responding adequately to the needs of their clients during emergencies. Volunteer representatives of older Canadians and their unpaid caregivers should be recruited and involved in training material development and implementation, to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected. Better Leveraging Community Support Services to Aid in Emergency Response Efforts Community-accessible resources have been found to be associated with facilitating higher levels of preparedness among older adults. In a 2017 study that examined the socio-demographic factors that influence levels of emergency preparedness among persons 50 years and older, participants who discussed emergency plans with their physician were more likely to be prepared than older adults who did not (Killian, Moon, McNeill, Garrison, & Moxley, 2017). Similar to physician visits, community agencies and programs that have a significant proportion of older users could act as an accessible portal for encouraging older adults to access emergency preparedness and recovery aids and services. Recommendation 2.2 highlights need for community services and programs to receive emergency preparedness training and education to provide appropriate supports for older adults (Centers for Disease Control, 2020). An additional benefit to incorporating emergency preparedness and recovery efforts into the scope of services provided by community agencies and programs, as well as managers of housing for older adults, is the additional social support that these resources can provide. One Canadian study suggested that leveraging interRAI assessment databases to identify at-risk and vulnerable older adults who are more likely to experience negative outcomes as the result of an emergency could benefit them in all phases of emergency management. InterRAI is a collaborative network of researchers that develops tools with common metrics for clinicians to assess patients. InterRAI tools are now used across Canada and around the world in a variety of settings, including home and community care (van Solm, Hirdes, Eckel, Heckman, & Bigelow, 2017). Leveraging this data could support community service agencies to identify and prioritize older adults who are most at risk of negative outcomes after an emergency. Similarly, to facilitate a holistic recovery, community and local government services could provide further social support, in addition to tangible resources, particularly for older adults who have been identified as having limited or no social support. Recommendation 2.3 Community-based programs that provide in-home health and personal care for older adults should integrate strategies that minimize unnecessary personal contact and leverage resources (e.g. personal protective equipment such as gowns, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, etc.) in their emergency preparedness plans and protocols. Enabling community-based programs to provide safe in-home supports for older adults during emergencies Many older adults, particularly those who reside at home, are the recipients of communitybased in-home services that are medical and/ 39 or supportive but non-medical in nature. Older adults with complex and often interrelated medical and social comorbidities often rely on these services in their day-to-day life. Emergencies as a result of a natural disaster or pandemic can lead to the disruptions in the delivery of in-home services for older adults as was seen during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges for care teams that provide in-home services for older adults as emergency protocols were needed to ensure minimal risk for the transfer and spread of the virus. Enabling community-based programs to provide safe in-home care during emergencies can minimize the risk of service interruptions and thereby any impact on older adults. Recommendation 2.3 notes the importance of community-based programs that provide in-home supports leveraging strategies that require minimal personal contact or the use of resources such as personal protective equipment in emergency preparedness. Emergencies such as pandemics and natural disasters both present new challenges with infection control where new pathogens continually emerge. In the event of a pandemic, hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment are seen as two important lines of defense (Bloomfield, Exner, Carlo, Nath, & Scott, 2012). For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic several best practice guidelines in the use of personal protective equipment were developed and promoted by Infection Prevention and Control Canada (IPAC) (Infection Prevention and Control, 2020), Ontario Health (Ontario Health, 2020) and the World Health Organization (World Health Organization, 2020). Evidence showed that the virus was transmitted between people through droplets and close contact. Many of the recommendations outlined were updated to support health care and other organizations decision-making around the use of PPE and PPE conservation to minimize shortages. Where contact is required, best practice guidelines recommend the use of preventive measures such as maintaining physical distance and performing hand hygiene frequently with an alcohol based hand rub. The International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene developed a risk-based approach to hygiene that breaks down the chain of infection transmission while addressing other risk factors. An individual’s hands and other environmental sites and surfaces are all a part of the chain of transmission that, if understood, can highlight areas where hygiene based interventions can be used to stop transmission (Bloomfield, Exner, Carlo, Nath, & Scott, 2012). Promoting proper hand hygiene (Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario), Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee, 2014) and proper environmental cleaning (Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario), Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee, 2018) inhome and community care settings can minimize the risk of infectious disease transmission. Other strategies that can be used by Home and Community Care providers include screening for both provides and clients in addition to wearing the necessary protective equipment while providing in home support. The Ontario Ministry of Health provided clear guidance on steps to take (Ontario Ministry of Health, 2020; Ontario Ministry of Health, 2020). Other strategies that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic included an increased use DOMAIN 2: COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES AND PROGRAMS CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 40 of virtual care through telehealth, telemedicine and other virtual platforms. Virtual care programs were expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic to enable care providers in acute hospital care settings to provide new consults and follow-up appointments for their patients (Stamenova, et al., 2020). Acute care physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology telehealth strategies can add value by mitigating COVID-19- related harm and influencing recovery (Exum, et al.). Recommendation 2.4 Local governments should leverage data sources that identify at-risk individuals to enable emergency responders to more easily prioritize their search and rescue efforts following an emergency. Enabling the Development of Repositories of Data Sources to Support Local Government Emergency Response Efforts During the panel discussion, experts recognized that while many registries of people with functional needs, including persons with disabilities, exist for and are easily accessible to municipal authorities, they can be difficult for territorial and provincial authorities to access. To increase the efficiency and identification of at-risk persons by emergency response personnel, it is recommended that local governments create a repository of their data sources. The establishment of a repository of data sources will act as a singular, easy-to-access reference to facilitate a fast-integrated response from neighbouring provincial or federal emergency services. For example, it is intended that providing all national and local aid agencies with a repository of data sources, such as available registries, will help to facilitate the cooperation of different aid agencies to provide the workforce needed to assist with evacuations, distribute emergency supplies and provide medical care. 41 Response and recovery efforts for older adults can vary, depending on the level of training emergency health care professionals, emergency response personnel and other potential first responders receive. Health care professionals indeed play a critical role in emergency preparedness and response because they are often the first point of contact for health-related guidance and care. An investigation of the levels of emergency related competency for health care providers and emergency response personnel was guided by Research Question 3: What are the strategies and resources that can be leveraged to improve emergency response among health care professionals and emergency response personnel during and after an emergency (natural disaster or pandemic)? (see Development Approach). The search strategies that were used yielded a combined total of 4,390 peer-reviewed journal articles, 12 of which were used along with two guidance documents for data extraction related to this specific question. The review of these 14 resources revealed that some health care professionals feel insufficiently prepared to provide appropriate care for older adults during emergencies such as natural disasters. Further, more efforts can be made to increase awareness of precautions for infectious disease spread and control during emergencies. To address the gaps, three evidence-informed expert recommendations were developed with the aim of augmenting training for health care professionals and emergency response personnel to include additional culturally-aware considerations for assisting and caring for older patients and residents during and after an emergency. Recommendation 3.1 Health care professionals and emergency response personnel should receive training on providing geriatric care relevant to their discipline and how best to assist older adults and their unpaid caregivers before, during and after emergencies. The additional education and training should also increase their awareness of best practices and precautions to minimize the risk of infectious disease transmission or spread while responding to emergencies. Volunteer representatives of older Canadians should be recruited and involved in training material development and implementation, to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected. Improving the Knowledge and Skills of Health Care Professionals in Geriatric and Emergency Health Care Principles Obtaining training in geriatric care is essential to ensuring that health care professionals are aware of the unique needs of older adults and how best to assist them, particularly during situations when they may be required to provide care during an emergency. In a report by Karen V. Lamb (2010), An Overview: Disaster Preparedness for Gerontological Nurses, the author identifies that cognitive impairment associated with dementias can be exacerbated during an emergency and produce feelings of confusion and delirium (Lamb & O'Brien, 2010). A Canadian study on nurses’ experiences with emergency management strongly recommends more extensive curricula in nurses’ training on how to provide better assistance during an emergency (Kulig, et al., 2017). It is recommended that health care providers and emergency response personnel be knowledgeable about how best to assist older adults in these situations. Using a multi-modal approach to DOMAIN 3: HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE PERSONNEL Domain 3: Health Care Professionals and Emergency Response Personnel CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 42 education can be effective in improving the knowledge, confidence and skills of health care professionals to respond to emergency situations (Pesiridis, Galanis, Sourtzi, & Kalokairinou, 2014; Roush & Tyson, 2012; Scott, Carson, & Greenwell, 2010). Lamb also emphasizes the need for nurses to be aware of the risks of providing care during a disaster (Lamb & O'Brien, 2010). Treatment can become a challenge because there is a possibility that medical records or resources, such as medications, oxygen, and dialysis, may not be available (Lamb & O'Brien, 2010). When combined with stress, limits to basic supplies, medications, and extreme changes in surroundings and temperature (Lamb & O'Brien, 2010), emergency situations can greatly exacerbate medical conditions and limit access to care interventions (Ardalan, et al., 2010). Considering that 80 per cent of older adults have at least one chronic health condition requiring medication and sometimes medical equipment, medical providers should be knowledgeable about alternative and effective methods for managing chronic conditions, and how to play an active role in emergency preparedness planning strategies at their local shelter or other temporary emergency care facilities (Bhalla, Burgess, Frey, & Hardy, 2015; Byrd, 2010). Therefore, emergency response personnel should be knowledgeable about conditions that are more likely to affect older adults, and how to effectively interact with or assist persons also living with dementia if they become agitated, confused, and anxious or wander away. Strengthening health care professionals’ and emergency response personnel’s knowledge of infection control practices can also support the provision of safe care to older adults in times of emergencies. The prolonged impact of natural disasters on a community can lead to the collapse of health facilities and health care systems, or disruptions in health programs (Kouadio, Aljunid, Kamigaki, Hammah, & Oshitani, 2012). Improved training for health care providers and emergency response personnel in infection control practices and increased awareness of best practices that can be used across all settings (Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee, 2012; Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee, 2012). Recommendation 3.2 Health care professionals and emergency response personnel should strive to mitigate negative outcomes among older adults during and after emergencies by adopting effective strategies designed to protect the physical and mental health of the older adults they may come in contact with. Strategies can include assessing the psychological well-being of older adults for signs of distress and providing appropriate treatments or referrals as needed. Better Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Older Adults During Emergencies While there is a preconceived notion that older adults are more emotionally fragile than younger adults, there are mixed reports about an existing difference in the incidence of psychological distress among older adults compared to younger adults following an emergency, which has indicated that older age may be a protective factor. When investigating potential differences between older adults and younger adults in the onset of psychological disorders following natural and 43 man-made disasters, anxiety and depressive symptoms have been found to not have a significant difference in incidence rates among older adults compared to younger adults (Parker, et al., 2016; Siskind, et al., 2016). However, differences were found in the incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In a 2016 study conducted by Parker and colleagues, PTSD was found to have a significantly greater incidence among older adults compared to younger adults. Similar results were also found by Jia and colleagues (2010), who reported a greater prevalence of PTSD symptoms among a sample of survivors of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake (Jia, et al., 2010). Conversely, Siskind and colleagues (2016) found that older adults were 2.85 times less likely to experience PTSD symptoms compared to younger adults in a meta-analysis of the mental health outcomes of older adults following humaninduced disasters (Siskind, et al., 2016). However, differences in the onset of psychological distress among persons of different socio-demographic statuses have also been reported. Obtaining less than a high school education and/or a bachelor’s degree, being unemployed or becoming unemployed due to a disaster, living in social isolation, or witnessing three or more events associated with a disaster were associated with a greater likelihood of developing PTSD (Blackmon, et al., 2017; Ruskin, et al., 2018; Welch, et al., 2016). A study was conducted by Cheung, Chau and Yip (2008) to assess the impact of the 2003 SARS outbreak on suicide rates in Hong Kong. The study used suicide statistics for the period 1993-2004 and compared the profile of older adult suicide cases in the pre-SARS, peri-SARS and post-SARS periods. Results from the study showed an excess of older adults suicides in April 2003 as compared to the month of April of the other years. Results were consistent with a year over year comparison, as older adult’s suicide rates in 2003 and 2004 were significantly higher than that in 2002, suggesting that the suicide rate did not return to the level before the SARS epidemic (Cheung, Chau, & Yip, 2008). Cheung, Chau and Yip speculated that the spike in older adult suicide rates could be because of loneliness and disconnectedness among the older adults in the community. As such, maintaining and enhancing mental wellbeing of the public over the period of an epidemic is arguably just as important as curbing the spread of the disease (Cheung, Chau, & Yip, 2008). A historical gap in emergency management has been the prevention and/or treatment of psychological effects that survivors experienced during and after an emergency. During flooding in Quebec in 2017, one of the most widespread challenges among survivors was psychological distress, with 25% of individuals encountered by officials exhibiting symptoms (CBC News, 2017). Training of responders in psychological first aid could also assist in thoughtful and compassionate handling of older adults during response and into recovery (Ardalan, et al., 2010). Overall, while findings suggest that extensive additional resources do not need to be directed towards protecting the psychological well-being of older adults during emergencies, it is still recommended that health care professionals and emergency response personnel make greater efforts to assess the psychological well-being of older adults during and after an emergency and provide appropriate treatments in order to provide early interventions for the existing proportion of older adults that do develop a psychological disorder. Greater emphasis should also be given DOMAIN 3: HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE PERSONNEL CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 44 to assessing the psychological well-being of older adults who satisfy at least one of the many sociodemographic factors that have been linked to a greater likelihood of developing a psychological disorder during or after an emergency. An example of how to achieve this will be to increase older individuals’ access to services provided by counsellors, occupational therapy and social workers post-emergency, as they can play a role in addressing the resulting psychological distress by providing education and training in coping skills using a community-based rehabilitation approach (Jeong, Law, DeMatteo, Stratford, & Kim, 2016). Recommendation 3.3 Health care professionals and emergency response personnel should receive cultural awareness training to provide appropriate care and support for older adults with different cultural and religious backgrounds before, during, and after an emergency. Providers should have options for providing support to older adults and their unpaid caregivers who face language or cultural barriers to accessing supports (e.g., translators, written materials in languages other than English or French, etc.). This is of particular importance for personnel that work with Indigenous populations, in diverse community-settings and during times of evacuation due to emergencies. Cultural awareness and training for health care professionals and emergency response personnel is a key tenet to ensuring older adults with different cultural and religious backgrounds receive appropriate care and support before, during and after an emergency (James, Hawkins, & Rowel, 2007). The Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada (2009), the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (2018), the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (2011) and the College of Nurses of Ontario (2019) have developed cultural awareness and cultural safety guidance for health providers that could be considered in this regard. In 2012, Dr. Samir Sinha delivered a report to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Living Longer, Living Well, in which he identified that many health, social and community care providers were unaware of the cultural needs, health and social conditions and services that may or may not be available locally to support older Indigenous adults. In the province of Ontario, as the prevalence rates for having three or more chronic conditions are higher for the Indigenous population as compared to the non-Indigenous population, it is understandable why Indigenous people rely disproportionately on the need for emergency care, and are more likely to self-report having “poor” or “fair” health (Sinha, 2012). As a result, a key recommendation of the report was to promote the development of cultural competency training for all health, social and community services providers working with older Indigenous populations. Some professional associations have taken other approaches to increase the degree of cultural awareness in care settings by building capacity in communities experiencing vulnerabilities to participate in care delivery. For instance, the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN), the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada (ANAC) and the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), in collaboration with nursing schools across Canada, actively promoted the recruitment of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people into nursing programs and enabled them 45 to complete these programs by removing barriers, such as finances, and building structures of support (Hart-Wasekeesikaw, 2009). Increasing the number of First Nation, Inuit and Métis nurses facilitates improved access to culturally safe and appropriate care for Indigenous people. This collaboration with the CASN, ANAC and the CNA also aimed to integrate principles of cultural competence and cultural safety into curricula for all nursing students that instill an understanding of the historical and contemporary contexts of Indigenous communities (Hart-Wasekeesikaw, 2009). In 2018, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists released a position statement highlighting the role of occupational therapy in Indigenous health. Its purpose is “to enable occupational therapists to provide effective, respectful, culturally safe, and collaborative services with First Nation, Inuit, and Métis persons, families, communities, and nations”. A fundamental recommendation from this report is to develop partnerships and alliances in order to best provide space for Indigenous worldviews, knowledge and self-determination, in recognizing that moving forward is a shared responsibility (Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, 2011). Within Indigenous communities, providers and personnel providing preparedness, response and recovery support need to consider and acknowledge the history as well as the knowledge, beliefs and perspectives about emergency preparedness held in Indigenous communities. Within the context of preparing for an emergency, recognizing the role of Indigenous older adults as community leaders and designing inclusive preparedness education activities that acknowledges and leverages their important role within community is important to successful emergency preparedness. In addition, developing preparedness materials that address additional traditional and ceremonial items that would be taken from the home in an evacuation, such as medicine pouches, eagle feathers, and sweet grass can also help to support Indigenous older adults to prepare for an emergency. When responding to an emergency, response personnel should develop an awareness that certain operational procedures have been observed to trigger trauma in some older Indigenous adults who survived the residential school system, the 60s Scoop and other traumatic episodes. Procedures that trigger these traumas should be replaced with culturally safe practices. In addition to how Indigenous communities are evacuated, it is equally important to recognize that many Indigenous older adults live with family members, and evacuating within the kin system is important. Separation from family and unpaid caregivers can be especially challenging. When recovering from an emergency, personnel should create space to acknowledge and grieve the cultural losses associated with evacuation, and provide activities that maintain a connection to home communities (e.g. sweat lodge, smudging ceremony, dancing/singing/sewing activities for children). DOMAIN 3: HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE PERSONNEL CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 46 Domain 4: Care Institutions and Organizations Care institutions and organizations that are responsible for the livelihood of their residents or patients during an emergency must make decisions that will support the health and well-being of their residents/patients. During emergencies such institutions and organizations should, for example, know when it is appropriate to evacuate or shelter-in-place and what to do in each case. An evaluation of the quality and levels of emergency preparedness within care institutions and organizations was guided by Research Question 4: What are the strategies and resources that can be leveraged at the organizational or institutional level to improve emergency (natural disaster or pandemic) preparedness and recovery efforts for older adults? (see Development Approach). The search strategies that were used yielded a combined total of 4,390 peer-reviewed journal articles, 17 of which were used along with nine guidance documents for data extraction related to this specific question. A review of these 26 resources revealed that greater action can be taken to prevent threats to an older patient’s/ resident’s health that can arise when severe emergencies disrupt the operations at care institutions and organizations, as well as patient handoff procedures. Consequently, in response to this gap, three evidence-informed expert recommendations were developed with the aims of increasing the levels of emergency preparedness knowledge among health care providers and care facility staff, as well as better facilitating effective patient hand-off during an emergency. Recommendation 4.1 Care institutions and organizations should include emergency preparedness and response education in their routine personnel training courses.
Volunteer representatives of older Canadians should be recruited and involved in developing and disseminating resources and training material, to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected. A 2012 study by Roush and Tyson that assessed the knowledge of emergency preparedness among nurses enrolled in a community-accessible emergency preparedness workshop, many of whom were employed at a nursing home, found that the majority of participants had no formal emergency planning and response training and many reported low or no proficiency ratings in emergency preparedness knowledge (28%). After completion of the workshop, the proficiency ratings increased to 76% and the majority of participants reported that they planned on including portions of the content from the workshop into courses for students, colleagues and/or patients (Roush & Tyson, 2012). Findings from this and other studies suggest that some health care providers working within and outside of a geriatric health care setting would benefit from additional training in their knowledge of how to respond to emergencies and care for older adults during these times (Lamb & O'Brien, 2010). To address this gap in education and improve disaster management in hospitals, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) developed the Elderly Populations in Disasters: Hospital Guidelines 47 for Geriatric Preparedness toolkit (Ahronheim, Arquilla, & Gambale Greene, 2009). The toolkit outlines training in geriatric care for health care professionals that includes guidelines for managing geriatric patients, common age-related misdiagnoses, when to obtain a geriatric medicine consultation and appropriate dosages for common psychiatric medication for frail elderly, as well as the development of reference charts to help make appropriate medical assessments for older adults during emergencies (Ahronheim, Arquilla, & Gambale Greene, 2009). Given that this toolkit provides a focus on geriatric-specific care needs to hospitals aiming to address a variety of circumstances common among older adults during emergencies, it may be beneficial for all care institutions and organizations to develop similar emergency toolkits based on the services that their organization provides. Health care professionals can collaborate to create an interprofessional toolkit that integrates different care approaches for older adults informed by each discipline. For example, nurse professionals and therapists can apply the integrated theory of health behavior change to develop education curricula that foster knowledge and improve health outcomes among older adults (Ryan, 2009). Further, adult learning theories are at the core of the training received by physical and occupational therapists. They practice client-centeredness, which tailors responses to be primarily focused on their client needs’ (Papadimitriou & Carpenter, 2013). Building resources through interprofessional and collaborative approaches can enable more efficient care and response to the needs of older adults during emergencies. Advanced education and certification courses in emergency and disaster preparedness management in Canada are small; in 2004, there were fewer than 10 people who were both practitioners and academics in the field of emergency management (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, 2004). The growth of emergency preparedness or management education was a gap identified by the Round Table attendees that was attributed, in part, to the absence of a lead entity that could advocate for the importance of this education across the country. Each province has adopted a different approach to education and credentialing around emergency preparedness/management, which has had an unfortunate effect of reducing cooperation and coordination. To solve this problem, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada initiated a federal/provincial/territorial working group to address the education requirements for Canadian emergency managers. Additionally, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction has published the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), which highlights the need for disaster risk reduction strategies to improve emergency and disaster preparedness, response and recovery efforts in the future, and outlines the required credentials and academic needs to foster future DRR professional expertise. Recommendation 4.1 addresses the need for institutions to include emergency preparedness and response training delivered through a multimodal platform. When teaching health care providers and hospitalbased staff about emergency preparedness, multi-modality teaching methods have been found to be an effective tool. A 2016 study by Collander and colleagues examined the efficiency of a multi-modality disaster preparedness training course for hospital-based health care providers, DOMAIN 4: CARE INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 48 called Hospital Disaster Life Support (HDLS) (Collander, et al., 2008). The program was taught using lectures, disaster exercises (pneumonia and bomb simulations), skills sessions and tabletop sessions. Upon assessment of the participants’ changes in knowledge acquisition and behaviours related to emergency preparedness, the results of a 1 to 5-point Likert scale, with 5 being the most favorable, showed that the mean response was 4.24. Comparisons of pre- and post-test scores revealed that all participants significantly improved their mean pre-test and post-test scores for emergency preparedness knowledge, the mean test score was 89.5% for the group. Recommendation 4.2 Additional strategies to improve the collection and transfer of identifying information and medical histories should be adopted into current standardized patient handoff procedures to better facilitate effective tracking, relocation and care of patients during an emergency. Improving Transitions of Care for Patients During Emergencies In the US, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) requires all facilities to have a standardized approach to patient hand-off procedures, which adequately supports communication between providers when patients are transported for diagnostic testing or procedures (Nursing, 2006). Similarly, in Canada, health care facilities typically have policies related to patient-hand off that enables communication between providers when patients are being transported. There are other patient transport policies that are specific to certain patient populations, such as Critical Care Services Ontario‘s Life or Limb Policy, developed through a collaboration among Critical Care Services Ontario, CritiCall Ontario, Local Health Integration Networks, Emergency Medical Services and several Hospital Administrators (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 2013). The policy ensures that life or limb threatened patients, i.e. a patient at risk of losing their life or limb, receives care within a 4 hour window and clearly outlines the procedures that are to be followed when patients are being transported. Within the implementation guide are CritiCall Ontario’s five step switchboard processes that start when CritiCall Ontario calls hospital switchboards in order to process a referral for a life or limb case, and ends when hospitals implement their Critical Care Surge Capacity Management Plan to reserve a bed and allow for patient transfer. This streamlined process ensures quick communication between physicians and prompt patient transfer. Though these policies are not specifically geared towards natural disasters, it provides a framework that can be operationalized to minimize harm and errors should patients need to be transported urgently during critical periods. However, additional tracking strategies should be incorporated into traditional patient hand-off procedures to better facilitate patient/resident transfers during emergencies. To prevent interruptions to treatment after relocation, both electronic-based and non-electronicbased methods should be used to facilitate successful delivery of patient identification and their associated medical history to the receiving organization after relocation. Specifically, it is recommended that documents should include demographic characteristics, appearance specifications, and medical information. The inclusion of content specific to patient identification is intended to assist in 49 matching patients to their medical histories in the event that their medical files are misplaced or inaccessible due to disaster, or to assist in identifying patients, particularly those who are unable to successfully do so themselves. Electronic-based tracking methods identified through a systematic review of patient tracking methods used internationally included electronic triage tags such as smart tags and other sensors to determine triage level, radio-frequency identification tags, and personal digital assistants (PDAs) for triage in these situations (Smith & Macdonald, 2006). A similar approach should be adopted in Canada. A strong correlation was further noted between the impact of evacuations on increased hospitalization, mortality, stress and trauma, particularly among nursing home residents with cognitive impairment (Brown, et al., 2013). This reiterates the critical need for care institutions to have emergency management plans, as well as robust transition of care plans in place for when patients need to be evacuated. It also emphasizes the importance of reviewing and updating these plans on a regular basis (Blanchard & Dosa, 2009; Dosa, et al., 2010; Laditka, Laditka, Cornman, Davis, & Richter, 2009; Nomura, et al., 2013; Thomas, et al., 2012; Willoughby, et al., 2017). Improved transitions can be be further supported by enhancing the integration of hospitals into community emergency preparedness planning (Braun, et al., 2006). Supporting integrated planning between hospitals and community care settings can facilitate systems for patient tracking and communication during emergencies and ease transitions post emergencies. Recommendation 4.3 Care institutions and other organizations should strive to develop comprehensive emergency plans that include effective response strategies for protecting older adults against infectious disease outbreaks and reflect evidence-based standards supported by organizations such as Infection Prevention and Control Canada (IPAC).
Care institutions should also regularly assess and address any barriers they identify that could affect the implementation of their emergency plans that build on their routine practices Developing comprehensive organizationwide emergency preparedness strategies that include infectious disease prevention Care institutions such as hospitals and long-term care and nursing homes are prone to regular infectious disease outbreaks. Outbreaks can often be localized to a given unit or section of the facility and can be contained with early identification and intervention. These care settings become more vulnerable to large scale outbreaks during emergencies such as pandemics as infectious diseases spread rapidly among patients and residents. Recommendation 4.3 highlights the importance of care institutions and other organizations having emergency plans that include effective response strategies that address infectious disease spread and outbreaks. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada stood out amongst other industrialized countries in reporting the highest proportion of its deaths having occurred in long term-care and retirement homes (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2020). The vulnerability of long-term care homes to respiratory disease outbreaks such as COVID-19, influenza and others is well recognized DOMAIN 4: CARE INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 50 (McMichael, et al., 2020). One study conducted in a skilled nursing facility in Kings County, Washington identified staff working in multiple facilities while ill and transfers of residents from one facility to another as potential challenges that introduced the virus into facilities, which was consistent with other studies (McMichael, et al., 2020; Lai, et al., 2020). Vaccination and timely introduction of antiviral treatments among workers in care institutions and other organizations is thought to be one of the most effective strategies to minimize the risk of infectious disease outbreaks (Cheng, Chen, Chou, Huang, & Huang, 2018; Rainwater- Lovett, Chun, & Lessler, 2014). Studies that assessed vaccination among care institution staff identified skepticism towards vaccination as a barrier to uptake (Huhtinen, Quinn, Hess, Najjar, & Gupta, 2019). Institutions that had on-site immunization programs for employees as well as policies that required immunization as a stipulation for employment showed high rates of vaccination among staff (Lai, et al., 2020). Nonpharmaceutical approaches can also be effective in preventing disease spread as indicated by the supported use of PPE as a preventative measure for spread (World Health Organization, 2020; Rainwater-Lovett, Chun, & Lessler, 2014). Closures of care institutions and facilities can also minimize the spread of infectious diseases among staff and residents alike. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many care institutions such as hospitals, long-term care homes closed their doors to non-essential visitors and restricted access to staff only. Early closures of these homes can be effective in containing disease outbreaks and shortening outbreak periods (Inns, et al., 2018). Other strategies include suspending new admissions, cohorting patients/residents by unit, active reinforcement of routine hygiene practices and use of disinfectant agents for regular cleaning of surfaces among others (Buffington, et al., 1993; Lee, Lee, Lee, & Park, 2020). Routine surveillance and regular reports are also recommended for early identification of infections (Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario), Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee, 2020). Bundled interventions have been demonstrated as the most effective approach to managing infection outbreaks in care facilities (Hayden, et al., 2015). Infection Prevention and Control Canada (IPAC) provides a repository of evidence-based guidelines with recommendations rooted in epidemiological studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of infection control interventions such as hand hygiene, routine cleaning practices, isolation among others across different health care settings (Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario), Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee, 2014; Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario), Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee, 2018; Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee, 2012; Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee, 2012; Siegel, Rhinehart, Jackson, & Chiarello, 2007; Canadian Committee on Antibiotic Resistance, 2007). Many of these guidelines are endorsed and published by agencies such as Public Health Ontario. Canadian care settings should leverage these guidelines and education resources to support the development of their emergency plans. 51 Federal, provincial and local governing bodies all play a regulatory role in emergency preparedness and response by outlining and enforcing how, and to what extent, relevant bodies and organizations should contribute to more effective emergency preparedness and response efforts through their policy and legislative powers. A review of existing gaps in emergency preparedness, response and recovery policies and legislation relevant to the outcomes of older adults was conducted. The investigation was guided by Research Question 5: Are there legislation or policies that have been developed or adopted at the local, provincial or federal levels to improve emergency (natural disaster or pandemic) preparedness and recovery efforts for older adults? (see Development Approach). The search strategies that were used yielded a combined total of 4,390 peer-reviewed journal articles, nine of which were used along with 15 legislative and policy-oriented documents that were used for data extraction related to this specific question. A review of the documents revealed that while some provinces and territories have developed and implemented new policies/ legislation in response to past experiences related to previous emergencies, there is still a gap in the application of these policies to address the needs of older adults and their unpaid caregivers. For the provinces that have not adopted legislation regarding emergency preparedness, available legislation as well as the current pandemic can serve as guides in making sure older adults are protected in times of emergencies. The gaps in legislation present a challenge in ensuring that sufficient supports are available to consistently address the needs of older adults during emergencies across Canada. Through the development of five policy/legislative evidenceinformed expert recommendations, an opportunity to implement legislation that can better improve emergency outcomes for older adults is proposed. Recommendation 5.1 A national advisory committee should be created to inform emergency preparedness, response and recovery program development and strategies for older Canadians. Individuals who are representative of older Canadians and their unpaid caregivers should be involved to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected. Establishing a National Advisory Committee on Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults In 2017, the US Senate introduced Bill S. 1834 to amend title XXVIII of the Public Health Service Act to include the establishment of a National Advisory Committee on Seniors and Disasters (Protecting Seniors During Disasters Act, 2017). The Advisory Committee was intended to be established by the Secretary of the Senate, with the consultation of the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The duties tasked to the Advisory Committee included evaluating and providing input on activities related to the medical and public health needs of older adults during all-hazard emergencies, and providing advice and recommendations to the Secretary with respect to older adults, medical and public health grants and cooperative agreements related to preparedness and response activities authorized under the Secretary. To ensure that the committee has the expertise required to better serve its designated tasks, Bill S. 1834 outlines a list of appropriate representatives that the committee should comprise; representatives Domain 5: Legislation and Policy DOMAIN 5: LEGISLATION AND POLICY CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 52 identified on the Bill include: the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Administrator of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), at least two non-federal health care providers with expertise in medical disaster planning, preparedness, response or recovery and representatives from other relevant Federal agencies, such as the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While the effectiveness of this committee has not yet been evaluated, the Canadian experts recognized the importance of the mandate of the committee established in the US and the potential impact it could have on emergency preparedness for older adults. To date, there has been no such committee established in Canada. Existing resources such as The Emergency Management Framework of Canada (see Summary of Relevant Frameworks and Legislations in Appendix B) could facilitate the creation of a national advisory committee that could inform decision-making and planning related to emergency preparedness and older adults. Federal groups such as Public Safety Canada may also have a role in the management and operation of this committee. Further, the engagement of older adults to participate as members of this committee would ensure that the perspectives of this population are appropriately integrated into any resulting outputs and products from the committee. Older adults have been found to play essential roles in policy development because they can provide insight on “salient barriers to active ageing and options for post-earthquake redevelopment that had not been previously considered” (Annear, Keeling, & Wilkinson, 2014). Other recommended members would include relevant private sector providers and geriatric care professionals (geriatricians, geriatric psychiatrists, gerontological nurses, social workers and pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists, and other geriatric care experts), and non-governmental organizations that work in preparedness, response and recovery for seniors, such as the Salvation Army and the Canadian Red Cross. Gerontologists can also provide insight and guidance on common geriatric syndromes, such as dementia, delirium, and psychosis, as well as common areas that older adults may require assistance with, such as taking medications, mobility, understanding emergency instructions and accessing social support, which are commonly managed by geriatric health care providers. Recommendation 5.2 All provinces and territories should support the implementation of tax-free emergency preparedness purchasing periods during specific times of the year or prior to an impending emergency. Governments should also provide targeted funding to directly support/subsidize the purchase of emergency preparedness kits for older Canadians. Items covered should include an agreed-upon list of emergency supplies (such as batteries, portable generators, rescue ladders, radios and ice packs), air conditioners, personal protective equipment (such as masks, gloves and hand sanitizer, etc.) and additional mobility aids (canes, walkers, etc.). Supporting Improved Self-Preparedness Activities When faced with the financial burdens associated with emergencies, older persons repeatedly experience less robust economic recovery than 53 younger age groups (Fernandez, Byard, Lin, Benson, & Barbera, 2002). Younger age groups tend to be less vulnerable to property damage due to a greater likelihood of having insurance, higher credit values, greater financial savings, and their reduced likelihood of living at or near the poverty line (Fernandez, Byard, Lin, Benson, & Barbera, 2002). The qualifications for receiving financial aid may also help explain why older adults may use them less than other age groups. This is often because older adults live on a fixed income or lack employment. Furthermore, in cases where aid is received, it is often difficult to obtain money to replace uncovered losses, making older adults more dependent on support from charities and their Social Security benefits (Fernandez, Byard, Lin, Benson, & Barbera, 2002). In Canada, Emergency Preparedness Week is a national awareness initiative that has taken place annually since 1996 during the month of May. It is a collaborative event undertaken by federal, provincial and territorial emergency management organizations that support emergency preparedness activities at the local level. Emergency preparedness week encourages Canadians to take three simple steps to become better prepared to face an emergency: 1) know the risks, 2) make a plan, and 3) get an emergency kit (Government of Canada, 2015). Tax-free emergency supplies can act as an incentive for older adults to purchase resources for their emergency kit or provide the price reductions needed to help older adults with limited resources access these essential supplies. Currently, 16 states in the United States have implemented tax-free weekends, however, only three have included ‘weather related’ preparedness or ‘severe weather’ preparedness supplies as part of the selected items that are eligible for a tax break or tax exemption. To provide all older adults with access to reduced costs for emergency supplies, it is recommended that all provinces and territories adopt tax-free emergency supplies and/or provide funding to support low-income seniors to purchase emergency kits. Supplies should include, but not be limited to, batteries, portable generators, mobility aids (canes and walkers), air conditioners, rescue ladders, radios, and ice packs. Furthermore, evidence shows that having a basic home kit comprised of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as hand hygiene and masks in addition to adequate ventilation, temperature control measures among other things greatly reduces the spread of illness and indirectly contributes to avoidable hospitalizations (Finkelstein, Prakash, Nigmatulina, McDevitt, & Larson, 2013). Thus, subsidizing these emergency essentials for older adults will improve emergency preparedness efforts. Recommendation 5.3 All provinces and territories should support the creation of a national licensure process or program for nurses, physicians, allied health professionals and other emergency medical service personnel to allow them to provide voluntary emergency medical support across provincial/territorial boundaries during declared states of emergency. Enhancing the Portability of Health Care Professional Expertise During Emergencies It is apparent that access to medical services must be provided as part of all emergency responses to support emergent medical needs. It is recommended that steps be taken to support the preliminary recruitment of health care providers DOMAIN 5: LEGISLATION AND POLICY CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 54 to facilitate a faster and standardized assembly of emergent medical teams during emergencies. In the United States, the Medical Reserves Corps (MRC) acts as a database of medical and nonmedical volunteers who can provide medical support in their community during emergencies, and this has been demonstrated to be very effective. It is recommended that similar resources be created and made available in Canada. To increase the availability of medically trained volunteers during an emergency, actions should be taken to adopt inter-provincial licensing across all provinces and territories. All relevant health care providers should work with their respective professional provincial or territorial boards and legislators to pass the required legislation in their respective province or territory. In Canada, licensing is provincially regulated. During emergencies, provinces utilize their own resources first; however, in cases where there is a need for specialists, Canada has the mechanisms to call on extra resources. For instance, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has the mechanisms to clear health care providers in a relatively short amount of time. Creating a national licensure program in Canada would facilitate shorter response timelines and ensure help is available when needed. For instance, the Atlantic Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons are working together to harmonize a number of processes and procedures as well as working on common Atlantic Colleges’ approaches to certain licences for physicians. The US has adopted a similar model whereby 31 states are licensure compact states for nursing (Nurse Licensure Compact, n.d.), 14 states and one territory are licensure compact states for emergency management services (EMS) personnel, (National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, n.d.), and 24 states are licensure compact states for physicians (Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, n.d.). A potential option for Canada is to allow health care providers to practice in different provinces or territories by pre-applying through PHAC for inter-provincial work during an emergency. Recommendation 5.4 All provincial and territorial governments should support legislative requirements that mandate congregate living settings for older persons (e.g. nursing homes, assisted living facilities and retirement homes) to regularly update and report their emergency plans that outline actions and contingencies to take in case of emergencies. These plans should include:
An outline of staffing levels that should be maintained during emergencies to minimize care and/or service interruptions. 55 All provinces and territories should work towards standardizing requirements for emergency plans in congregate living settings in accordance with the priorities outlined in the 2019 Emergency Management Strategy for Canada and ensure that their emergency plans for congregate living settings are aligned with directives outlined in their provincial/territorial pandemic and emergency plans. Improving Environmental Control Efforts in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities In Ontario, the Long-term Care Homes Act (2007) states that all nursing homes must have air conditioning and back-up generators to provide power for all support and life-supporting equipment in the case of an emergency. If central air conditioning is not available in the facility, there should be a designated cooling area for every 40 residents. However, this is not the case for all provinces and territories. For instance, in British Columbia, the legislation does not include requiring homes to have additional contingencies in their emergency plans to ensure that, in the event of a power outage, temperatures are kept at reasonable levels to avoid the exacerbation of existing health issues among nursing homes and assisted living plans in long-term care facilities. The panel recommends calling on all provinces and territories to standardize their requirements and ensure that the appropriate measures are in place to restore power within a reasonable timeframe, and mandate that facilities have additional contingencies to ensure that temperatures are maintained at appropriate levels. In addition to maintaining favorable in-house temperatures and ensuring constant power supply, emergency plans for congregate living settings should include contingencies to maintain appropriate staffing levels during emergencies. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted significant challenges with maintaining appropriate staffing levels in settings such as group and retirement homes for older adults. Participation House, a group home in Markham, Ontario experienced high rates of staff resignations during the pandemic where staffing levels were described as “critical” (Rocca, 2020). The group home experienced a severe outbreak of the virus during the pandemic with 95% of its residents (40 of 42) and 38 of its staff members becoming infected (Riedner, 2020). Studies have shown that, among other things, staffing levels and patterns can have significant impact on outcomes in congregate living settings (Trivedi, et al., 2012; Li, Birkhead, Strogatz, & Coles, 1996; Lin, et al., 2011; Harrington, Zimmerman, Karon, Robinson, & Beutel, 2000; Horn, Buerhaus, Bergstrom, & Smout, 2005; Kim, Kovner, Harrington, Greene, & Mezey, 2009). Consequently, effective emergency planning will require actions to maintain appropriate staffing levels to minimize the risk of widespread and prolonged outbreaks in these settings. Ensuring that staff are adequately trained and prepared for an emergency will also improve outbreak efforts in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In a study conducted by Bucy, Smith, Carder, Winfree and Thomas to determine how States required residential care and assisted living facilities to mitigate, prepare and respond to infections among their residents, found that 31 states had defined infection control policies some DOMAIN 5: LEGISLATION AND POLICY CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 56 of which require staff to be trained in infection control) (Bucy, Smith, Carder, Winfree, & Thomas, 2020). Ten states include language surrounding epidemics, primarily regarding reportable disease and requirements for reporting to local Public Health departments, and two describe pandemic emergency preparedness. Only six States referenced resident isolation practices as an effective way to combat the spread of infections (Bucy, Smith, Carder, Winfree, & Thomas, 2020). Similarly, in Canada, the 2007 Emergency Management Act (Government of Canada, 2007) requires the federal Minister of Health to develop, test and maintain mandate-specific emergency plans for the federal Health Portfolio. Health emergency management in provinces and territories are governed by specific legislation specific to each jurisdiction that requires provincial and territorial governments to have comprehensive emergency plans. Each province and territory, in accordance with the legislation, has outlined emergency plans, some of which are specific to influenza and/or pandemics. Some provinces, such as Alberta, have stipulated actions for vulnerable groups (i.e. seniors) and health care workers and services in their Pandemic Influenza Plans (Alberta Government, 2014). The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in provincial governments issuing more specific guidance for community and health care settings to support evidence-informed decision making and actions in these settings. Lastly, legislation should take into account emergency plans for situations where a lack of infrastructure poses itself as an obstacle to physical distancing or self-isolation. Isolation is a recommended strategy to control disease outbreak in congregate living environments however many facilities have reported infrastructure challenges has a barrier to implementing isolation protocols among their residents (Huhtinen, Quinn, Hess, Najjar, & Gupta, 2019; McMichael, et al., 2020). Not being able to physically separate during an emergency can serve as a barrier to managing and controlling a disease outbreak. Recommendation 5.5 All provinces and territories should adopt a standardized approach to promoting collaborations between local pharmaceutical prescribers and dispensers (i.e. community pharmacists), physicians and nurse practitioners, to ensure an adequate supply of prescription medications are dispensed to persons with chronic health conditions prior to and during an emergency. This approach should also outline the need for collaboration between pharmaceutical providers, hospitals and relief agencies to ensure an adequate supply of prescription medications are available at hospitals, relief and evacuation shelters.
All persons should be able to obtain at least a 30-day supply of emergency prescription medications prior to and during an emergency. Ensuring Access to Medically Necessary Medications During Emergencies Older adults often live with multiple chronic health conditions that require ongoing management, which can include the help of prescription medicine. In Canada, prescription length policies are set largely by the regulatory bodies for physicians and pharmacists at the provincial level. Though there were no studies found related to access to medication during times of emergencies in Canada, there were many reports 57 that emerged from the US and other jurisdictions regarding the challenges that were experienced accessing prescription medications for people who were evacuated to shelters. For instance, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, many older adults were relocated to public shelters miles away from their homes. Reflective discussions of the medical care provided in the Astrodome in Houston, TX, and the Mississippi Coliseum and the Mississippi Trade Mart in Jackson, MS, have exposed the impact that existing barriers to accessing at least a 30-day supply of emergency prescription medications can have on one’s health. In Jackson, MS, the Department of Medicine, in partnership with local medical facilities deployed a pop-up Katrina clinic in the Mississippi Coliseum and Mississippi Trade Mart shelters (Currier , King, Wofford , Daniel, & deShazo , 2006). Though many of the 2,394 evacuees left their homes with the conventionally recommended threeday supply of medications, most people required access to additional supplies of their medications to manage chronic health conditions (Aldrich & Benson, 2008; Currier , King, Wofford , Daniel, & deShazo , 2006). It was reported that the most common medical needs at the clinic were for prescription refills, particularly for cardiovascular, antihistamine/decongestant, psychotropic, analgesic and diabetic medications (Currier , King, Wofford , Daniel, & deShazo , 2006). A review of several pharmaceutical and drug prescribing policies in Canada has highlighted that emergency refill policies are not uniform across provinces and territories, and the issue was rarely addressed specifically. One province, British Columbia, allows physicians to provide prescriptions with renewals for up to a one-year period (two years for birth control). Additionally, pharmacists can independently renew most medications for a period of up to six months. During severe emergencies, where persons can be displaced for extended periods of time, ranging from a few days to a few months, it is critical that persons who are dependent on medications are able to evacuate their homes with a pharmaceutical supply that can support their health and well-being, particularly if they must evacuate to an isolated area or stay at a relief shelter where pharmaceutical supplies can be limited at warehouses and coordinating centres for emergency response (Currier , King, Wofford , Daniel, & deShazo , 2006). Consequently, it is recommended that all provinces and territories adopt a standardized approach to collaboration between local pharmaceutical prescribers and dispensers, specifically community pharmacists, physicians and nurse practitioners. To further facilitate access to prescription medications during emergencies, particularly in relief shelters, this approach should emphasize the need for inter-organizational collaboration between pharmaceutical providers and relief agencies to ensure that an adequate supply of prescription medications are available. DOMAIN 5: LEGISLATION AND POLICY CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 58 Domain 6: Research A holistic review of the identified literature revealed that research in the field of emergency preparedness, response, and recovery for older adults is highly underdeveloped. The unpredictability of both the timing and types of emergencies make traditional research designs and methodologies difficult. Nevertheless, there is a clear opportunity to develop and evaluate preparedness initiatives and their potential impact during response and recovery efforts, as well as the outcomes for designated populations and those personnel and organizations with a responsibility for supporting them. Recommendation 6.1 There is a need to prioritize the creation and funding of research efforts to better support the development of a common framework for measuring the quality and levels of emergency preparedness among care institutions, organizations, paid providers, community organizations, and other groups that work primarily with older adults and their unpaid caregivers during and after emergencies. Recommendation 6.2 There needs to be a more concerted effort in utilizing outcomes from existing evidence to support the planning, design, and refinement of more evidence-informed emergency preparedness interventions, policies, and regulations in support of older adults and unpaid caregivers, as well as organizations and paid care providers that will be responsible for meeting their needs during and after an emergency. Prioritizing Emergency Preparedness and Response Research A review of the existing literature relevant to emergency preparedness, response, and recovery for older adults has highlighted a gap in this research field. Current research efforts have highlighted that older adults experience a disproportionately greater vulnerability to adverse outcomes during and after emergencies compared to younger adults; however, there is limited available research that evaluates interventions that can be implemented to induce more positive outcomes for older adults. Specifically, there are insufficient studies that evaluate best practices for assisting and caring for older adults with health and functional declines, and the most effective methods for delivering services and resources to them. Regarding system operations, there is research that documents the effects of surge capacity operations in the ED and patient tracking methods that are used internationally, but a lack of available research on the most effective policies and procedures to ensure a favorable outcome during surge capacity operations or patient hand-offs during emergencies. The development of a research agenda related to emergency preparedness, response and recovery for older adults is essential to facilitating greater experimental exploration of emergency-related interventions for older adults. Researchers should also develop a common framework for measuring the quality and levels of emergency preparedness among various institutions and organizations. A common evaluation framework can reduce the variability and biases that can be associated with comparing systems that have been evaluated using different frameworks, which can differ based on their chosen metrics and domains of measurement. 59 In a 2004 research report done by Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, participants acknowledged that there is little research related to emergency management in Canada. This highlights the need to encourage more graduate students to pursue research projects in emergency management. Furthermore, the outcomes of those projects needs to be translated to practitioners to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, 2004). There has been some work done to measure general preparedness among Canadians published in the 2014 report titled Emergency Preparedness in Canada. The report used data from the Survey of Emergency Preparedness and Resilience (SEPR), a cross sectional survey conducted by Statistics Canada for the first time in 2014, to investigate emergency preparedness activities and risk awareness among Canadians aged 15 and over from across the 10 provinces. Based on the survey, emergencies involving the outbreak of serious disease were named as a likely hazard by about half of those in each province, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador (37%), Prince Edward Island (40%) and New Brunswick (44%), where the proportion was about four in ten for each (Emergency Preparedness in Canada, 2014). Canadians believe a number of natural and human-induced disasters are events that their community is likely to face. Winter storms (86%) and extended power outages (76%), followed by outbreaks of serious or life-threatening disease (51%) and industrial or transportation accidents (50%) were the most frequently named events (Emergency Preparedness in Canada, 2014). Further, older adults aged 65 and older were highlighted as being less likely to have a large social network to turn to in an emergency (Emergency Preparedness in Canada, 2014). Though the SEPR provides a baseline to support understanding of preparedness across Canada, responses were collected from Canadians living in only the 10 provinces, excluding the territories. It also excluded Canadians living in institutions such as nursing and long-term care homes, which includes older adults who would be in greater need of support in emergency or disaster situations. Applying Relevant Research Findings to Real-Life Emergency Health Practices Recommendation 6.2 further supports the utilization of research in policy making by proposing that published studies related to emergency preparedness and recovery be made open access. Providing open access to emergency preparedness and recovery research can help facilitate greater experimental investigation in the field of emergency preparedness and response. Recommendation 6.3 A network of emergency preparedness researchers, older adults, unpaid caregivers, volunteers and providers needs to be created to encourage partnerships in the ongoing unpaid evaluation of emergency preparedness interventions targeting older adults. Network members should advocate for an increased focus on emergency preparedness research among the various societies or journals that they are members of. Establishing a Network of Emergency Health Researchers Unfortunately, emergency management research in Canada has not been identified as a priority. As a result, Recommendation 6.3 suggests creation of a national network for emergency DOMAIN 6: RESEARCH CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 60 management and emergency preparedness comprised of providers, older adults and volunteers. The network could be leveraged for information sharing but would primarily advocate for an increased focus on emergency preparedness research. It was also suggested by Round Table participants that the network could be supported by an organization connected to all universities offering emergency management programs and conducting emergency management research, as well as by the federal and provincial authorities responsible for emergency management. The panel further recommends that this current network of emergency preparedness researchers be continued to support the progression of research efforts related to emergency preparedness for older adults. The tasks of the research group should include evaluating the efficiency of existing policies and procedures within care institutions/ organizations and government, identifying gaps in knowledge and knowledge delivery, and delegating priorities for research. It is intended that this group of researchers will fill the current gap in emergency preparedness, response and recovery research to support the development of evidencebased policies. Recommendation 6.4 There is a need to focus on research about unpaid caregivers and emergency preparedness to better instruct unpaid caregivers on how to take care of their vulnerable family members and friends during an emergency. Conducting Research on Emergency Preparedness Among Unpaid Caregivers Being an unpaid caregiver can at times be demanding. Dealing with an emergency, in addition to caregiving responsibilities, can quickly become overwhelming, with potentially devastating consequences. Consequently, it is essential for unpaid caregivers to be appropriately supported whereby they can identify potential challenges and take the steps necessary so that they and the older adult they are caring for can be prepared. The Round Table attendees recognized the vital role that unpaid caregivers play in emergency preparedness and reduction of casualties following a major event among older adults. The literature reviewed has highlighted the different levels of responsibilities and roles in reducing negative outcomes following an emergency. Research literature has consistently noted a need for evidence-informed strategies to address challenges to emergency preparedness, particularly among households with frail older adults and their unpaid caregivers (Levac, Toal- Sullivan, & O'Sullivan, 2012). Recommendation 6.4 notes the importance of conducting additional research with a particular focus on unpaid caregivers, which can further bridge this gap and provide an evidence base to develop strategies that can mitigate negative outcomes among older adults following an emergency. Recommendation 6.5 There is a need to focus on research about emergency preparedness and response in Canadian community and congregate living settings for older adults (e.g. nursing, retirement and group homes, and assisted living facilities). Research should:
Determine the existing levels of preparedness across these environments as well as highlight the challenges they face in being prepared. 61
Characterize the impact of the emergency on the older adult population and emerging best practices on how to address it as soon as it emerges. Preparing Congregate Living Settings for an Emergency Canada’s recent experience with the COVID-19 pandemic and the high number of deaths it has experienced to date in its long-term care homes (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2020) has shown that there are gaps in the system which have rendered congregate living settings vulnerable in the midst of an emergency. Recommendations 6.5 highlights the need for more research to understand the existing levels of emergency preparedness in congregate living settings for older adults. Comprehensive emergency plans should reflect contingencies for a multitude of emergencies ranging in scale and nature, including pandemics. Emergency plans in congregate living settings for older adults should include clear protocols for pandemics. In a study conducted by Lum, Mody, Lona and Ginde (2014), a national survey to identify characteristics of residential care settings associated with having a pandemic plan in the US found that a majority of the residential care settings that lacked a pandemic influenza plan were smaller, for-profit, and non-chain-affiliated and also had lower staff vaccination rates (Lum, Mody, Levy, & Ginde, 2014). Understanding these characteristics may help target settings that need to develop plans to handle a pandemic, or other emergencies. Having a robust program of research on emergency preparedness in congregate living settings for older adults can facilitate the development of a body of evidence for best practices to address emergencies as soon as it emerges. Research should target all levels of emergency management including the resident/ patient, providers/staff, programs and institutions. Surveillance data, such as data from the COVID-19 pandemic, can provide the basis for new and ongoing studies. DOMAIN 6: RESEARCH CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 62 Alzheimer’s Disease: a form of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, behavior and independent functioning; it is the most common cause of dementia (https://www.alz.org/alzheimers- dementia/whatis- alzheimers). Care Institution: an organization that provides health care and related services to the provision of inpatient and outpatient care, such as diagnostic or therapeutic services, laboratory services, medicinal drugs and other health services. Congregate Living Settings: refers to a range of congregate living environments (nursing and retirement homes, assisted living facilities, etc.) where older adults live or stay overnight and use shared spaces (https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/diseasesand- conditions/infectious-diseases/respiratorydiseases/ novel-coronavirus/congregate-livingsettings- resources#:~:text=Congregate%20 living%20settings%20refer%20 to,Correctional%20facilities). Dementia: a general term used to categorize a group of diseases associated with progressive declines in cognitive abilities, including memory, communication, language, attention, reasoning, judgement and visual perception that negatively impact independent functioning (https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/whatis- dementia). Epidemic: the occurrence of disease cases in excess of normal expectancy (https://www.who.int/environmental_health_ emergencies/disease_outbreaks/en/). Emergency: a state whereby a territory is facing an event with public health consequences; here used to encompass a natural disaster or pandemic (https://www.who.int/emergencies/crises/en/). Emergency Response Personnel: personnel responsible for providing assistive services during an emergency, including firefighters, police, civil defense/emergency management officials, sheriffs, military and manufacturing and transportation personnel. Geriatric Care Professionals: practitioners that specialize in treating the physical, mental, emotional and/or social problems among older adults, including nurses, dentists, social workers, occupational and physical therapists, and pharmacists. Health Care Disaster: these happen when the destructive effects of a natural disaster can overwhelm the ability of a given area or community to meet the demand for healthcare (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/ PMC1291330/). Healthcare Professionals: an individual that has been certified and authorized to provide preventable, curable, rehabilitative, and promotional health services (http://www.who.int/hrh/statistics/Health_ workers_classification.pdf). Incident Command System: a standardized tool for enabling an effective command, control, and coordination of an emergency response, allowing agencies to work together to facilitate a consistent response (https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/ics_guide/ glossary.htm). Glossary 63 Natural disaster: an act of nature of such magnitude as to create a catastrophic situation in which the day-to-day patterns of life are suddenly disrupted and people are plunged into helplessness and suffering, and, as a result, need food, clothing, shelter, medical and nursing care and other necessities of life, and protection against unfavourable environmental factors and conditions (https://www.who.int/environmental_health_ emergencies/natural_events/en/) Pandemic: an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people (https://www.who.int/bulletin/ volumes/89/7/11-088815/en/#:~:text=A%20 pandemic%20is%20defined%20as,are%20not%20 considered%20pandemics.) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): items worn or used to provide barrier to help prevent potential exposure to an infectious disease. Shelter-in-place: a precaution taken when hazardous materials (chemical, biological or radiological) are released in the air. This requires seeking a small, interior room with no or minimal windows within the building one already occupies. State of Emergency: a circumstance declared by a government when a disaster has occurred and is severe or is imminent and expected to require state aid to supplement local resources to prevent or alleviate damage, loss and hardship within a region (http://ready.nj.gov/about-us/state-of-emergency. shtml). Unpaid Caregivers: individuals who provide help and care to members of their household and to people who reside in other households. GLOSSARY CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 64 Ahronheim, J. C., Arquilla, B., & Gambale Greene, R. (2009). Elderly populations in disasters: Hospital guidelines for geriatric preparedness. New York: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 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C., Edwards, B., Van Willigen, M., Maiolo, J. R., Wilson, K., & Smith, K. T. (2000, December). Heading for higher ground: Factors affecting real and hypothetical hurricane evacuation behavior. Environmental Hazards, Volume 2(4), 133-142. doi:10.1016/S1464-2867(01)00013-4 Willoughby, M., Kipsaina, C., Ferrah, N., Blau, S., Bugeja, L., Ranson, D., & Ibrahim, J. E. (2017, August 1). Mortality in nursing homes following emergency evacuation: A systematic review. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 18(8), 664-670. doi:10.1016/j.jamda.2017.02.005 World Health Organization. (2020). Rational use of personal protective equipment for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and considerations during severe shortages. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/mmedn7f/ Downloads/WHO-2019-nCov-IPC_PPE_use-2020.3-eng.pdf Wyte-Lake, T., Claver, M., Griffin, A., & Dobalian, A. (2014). The role of the home-based provider in disaster preparedness of a vulnerable population. Gerontology, 60(4), 336-345. doi:10.1159/000355660 Zibulewsky, J. (2001, April). Defining disaster: The emergency department perspective. Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings, 144-149. doi:10.1080/08998280.2001.11927751 REFERENCES CLOSING THE GAPS: ADVANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY FOR OLDER ADULTS 78 Appendices Appendix A: Index of Recommendations and Enabling Bodies The index below provides an outline of the 29 recommendations presented in this whitepaper and an identification of the emergency management domains that have been determined to be responsible for adopting or enforcing a given recommendation. Recommendations Relevant Federal Agencies Provincial & Local Governments Care Institutions & Organizations Health Care Professionals & Emergency Response Personnel Community-Based Services & Programs Individuals & Unpaid Caregivers Domain 1: Individuals and Unpaid Caregivers Recommendation 1.1: Older adults and their unpaid caregiver(s) should be provided with tailored, easy-to-access information and resources related to emergency preparedness and guidance on how to develop customized emergency plans that consider the functional and health needs of older adults and appropriate strategies to support infection/disease prevention. Volunteer representatives of older Canadians and their unpaid caregivers should be recruited and involved in developing and disseminating resources and training material, to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected. X X X X X X Recommendation 1.2: Older adults who are reliant on mobility aids should remove or minimize barriers affecting their ability to evacuate, and take steps to ensure their safety within their surroundings. X X Recommendation 1.3: If registries for people with functional and other needs, including persons with disabilities, have been established by local emergency response agencies, older adults and/or their unpaid caregiver(s) should register so they can be better assisted/supported during emergencies. X X X X Recommendation 1.4: Older adults who have a sensory impairment, such as a visual or hearing disability, should take additional precautions to prepare themselves for emergencies. X X X Recommendation 1.5: Older adults who live with chronic health conditions should maintain a readily accessible list of their current medical conditions, treatments (medications, durable medical equipment, supplies and other health care needs), health care providers, and emergency contacts, including substitute decision makers (SDMs). X X Recommendation 1.6: Older adults who take medications should work with their health care providers to ensure they have access to at least a 30-day supply of medications during an emergency. X X Recommendations Relevant Federal Agencies Provincial & Local Governments Care Institutions & Organizations Health Care Professionals & Emergency Response Personnel Community-Based Services & Programs Individuals & Unpaid Caregivers Recommendation 1.7: Older adults, and their unpaid caregivers, who are reliant on medical devices that require electricity, should ensure they have back-up power supplies in place, especially if required while sheltering-in-place.
Older adults and/or their unpaid caregivers should contact their electricity company in advance to discuss their needs and ensure options for alternative power sources are available, especially addressing the need for access to power to charge cell phones and other mobile devices.
Older adults and/or their unpaid caregivers should seek assistance with obtaining and maintaining an alternative power source at home, if required, such as when being required to move heavy equipment and fuel or in accessing these resources in rural locations, and operating equipment. X X X Recommendation 1.8: Older adults should be encouraged to continually maintain an adequate local support network that can be called upon during impending disasters and unexpected emergencies, especially if they live alone or lack easy access to relatives. X X X Recommendation 1.9: Unpaid caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and/or other dementias should to supported to identify signs of distress, anxiety, or confusion, and use strategies to redirect attention and help them stay calm during emergencies. In addition, unpaid caregivers should be prepared to prevent wandering, and have plans in place to locate their care recipients if they do wander or require medical intervention(s) during an emergency. X X X Domain 2: Community-Based Services and Program Recommendation 2.1: Access should be increased to tailored communitybased programs that educate older adults and their unpaid caregivers about emergencies that could affect their region and how best to prepare for and respond to them. Volunteer representatives of older Canadians and their unpaid caregivers should be recruited and involved in training material development and implementation, to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected.
Community-based programs and organizations should collaborate with regional public health authorities in developing and disseminating education resources on infection control, disease and injury prevention practices for older adults and their unpaid caregivers during emergencies. X X X Recommendation 2.2: Programs that provide disaster relief and/or essential community services, such as Meals on Wheels, and daily living assistance for older people (financial, medical, personal care, food and transportation), should receive emergency preparedness training and education, as well as develop and adhere to plans and protocols related to responding adequately to the needs of their clients during emergencies. Volunteer representatives of older Canadians and their unpaid caregivers should be recruited and involved in training material development and implementation, to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected. X APPENDIX A – A1 Recommendations Relevant Federal Agencies Provincial & Local Governments Care Institutions & Organizations Health Care Professionals & Emergency Response Personnel Community-Based Services & Programs Individuals & Unpaid Caregivers Recommendation 2.3: Community based programs that provide in-home health and personal care for older adults should integrate strategies that minimize unnecessary personal contact and leverage resources (e.g. personal protective equipment such as gowns, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer etc.) in their emergency preparedness plans and protocols. X Recommendation 2.4: Local governments should leverage data sources that identify at-risk individuals to enable emergency responders to more easily prioritize their search and rescue efforts following an emergency. X Domain 3: Health Care Professionals and Emergency Response Personnel Recommendation 3.1: Health care professionals and emergency response personnel should receive training on providing geriatric care relevant to their discipline and how best to assist older adults and their unpaid caregivers before, during and after emergencies. The additional education and training should also increase their awareness of best practices and precautions to minimize the risk of infectious disease transmission or spread while responding to emergencies. Volunteer representatives of older Canadians should be recruited and involved in training material development and implementation, to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected. X X X Recommendation 3.2: Health care professionals and emergency response personnel should strive to mitigate psychological distress among older persons during and after emergency by making an effort to assess the psychological well-being of older adults and provide appropriate treatments as needed. X X Recommendation 3.3: Health care professionals and emergency response personnel should receive cultural awareness training to provide appropriate care and support for older adults with different cultural and religious backgrounds before, during, and after an emergency. Providers should have options for providing support to older adults and their unpaid caregivers who face language or cultural barriers to accessing supports (e.g., translators, written materials in languages other than English or French, etc.). This is of particular importance for personnel that work with Indigenous populations, in diverse community-settings, and during times of evacuation due to emergencies. X X Recommendations Relevant Federal Agencies Provincial & Local Governments Care Institutions & Organizations Health Care Professionals & Emergency Response Personnel Community-Based Services & Programs Individuals & Unpaid Caregivers Domain 4: Care Institutions and Organizations Recommendation 4.1: Care institutions and organizations should include emergency preparedness and response education in their routine personnel training courses.
Multi-modality educational tools and practices should be used to better facilitate knowledge acquisition and behavioral change.
Volunteer representatives of older Canadians should be recruited and involved in developing and disseminating resources and training material, to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected X X X Recommendation 4.2: Additional strategies to improve the collection and transfer of identifying information and medical histories should be adopted into current standardized patient handoff procedures to better facilitate effective tracking, relocation and care of patients during an emergency. X Recommendation 4.3: Care institutions and other organizations should strive to develop comprehensive emergency plans that include effective response strategies for protecting older adults against infectious disease outbreaks and reflect evidence-based standards supported by organizations such as Infection Prevention and Control Canada.
Care institutions should also regularly assess and address any barriers they identify that could affect the implementation of their emergency plans that build on their routine practices. X Domain 5: Legislation and Policy Recommendation 5.1: A national advisory committee should be created to inform emergency preparedness, response and recovery program development and strategies for older Canadians. Individuals who are representative of older Canadians and their unpaid caregivers should be involved to ensure their voices and perspectives are reflected. X X X X X Recommendation 5.2: All provinces and territories should support the implementation of tax-free emergency preparedness purchasing periods during specific times of the year or prior to an impending emergency. Governments should also provide targeted funding to directly support/ subsidize the purchase of emergency preparedness kits for older Canadians. Items covered should include an agreed-upon list of emergency supplies (such as batteries, portable generators, rescue ladders, radios and ice packs), air conditioners, personal protective equipment (such as masks, gloves and hand sanitizer) and additional mobility aids (canes, walkers, etc.). X APPENDIX A – A2 Recommendations Relevant Federal Agencies Provincial & Local Governments Care Institutions & Organizations Health Care Professionals & Emergency Response Personnel Community-Based Services & Programs Individuals & Unpaid Caregivers Recommendation 5.3: All provinces and territories should support the creation of a national licensure process or program for nurses, physicians, allied health professionals and other emergency medical service personnel to allow them to provide voluntary emergency medical support across provincial/territorial boundaries during declared states of emergency. X Recommendation 5.4: All provincial and territorial governments should support legislative requirements that mandate congregate living settings for older persons (e.g. nursing homes, assisted living facilities and retirement homes) to regularly update and report their emergency plans that outline actions and contingencies to take in case of emergencies. These plans should include:
Back-up generators in case of extended periods of power outages, and coordinated plans with relevant community agencies (e.g. municipal fire agencies) for efficient evacuations.
Directions on appropriate interventions (i.e. self-isolation, wearing face masks, physical distancing, etc.) to control and prevent outbreaks and spread of infectious diseases amongst the population in times of emergencies.
Clear thresholds for temperature regulation, specifically, maximum and minimum temperatures permissible based on occupational and environment health standards, and the steps required to regulate temperatures and minimize fluctuations.
An outline of staffing levels that should be maintained during emergencies to minimize care and/or service interruptions. All provinces and territories should work towards standardizing requirements for emergency plans in congregate living settings in accordance with the priorities outlined in the 2019 Emergency Management Strategy for Canada and ensure that their emergency plans for congregate living settings are aligned with directives outlined in their provincial/territorial emergency plans. X X Recommendation 5.5: All provinces and territories should adopt a standardized approach to promoting collaborations between local pharmaceutical prescribers and dispensers (i.e. community pharmacists), physicians and nurse practitioners, to ensure an adequate supply of prescription medications are dispensed to persons with chronic health conditions prior to and during an emergency. This approach should also outline the need for collaboration between pharmaceutical providers, hospitals and relief agencies to ensure an adequate supply of prescription medications are available at hospitals, relief and evacuation shelters.
All persons should be able to obtain at least a 30-day supply of emergency prescription medications prior to and during an emergency. X X X X Recommendations Relevant Federal Agencies Provincial & Local Governments Care Institutions & Organizations Health Care Professionals & Emergency Response Personnel Community-Based Services & Programs Individuals & Unpaid Caregivers Domain 6: Research Recommendation 6.1: There is a need to prioritize the creation and funding of research efforts to better support the development of a common framework for measuring the quality and levels of emergency preparedness among care institutions, organizations, paid providers, community organizations, and other groups that work primarily with older adults and their unpaid caregivers during and after emergencies. X Recommendation 6.2: There needs to be a more concerted effort in utilizing outcomes from existing evidence to support the planning, design, and refinement of more evidence-informed emergency preparedness interventions, policies, and regulations in support of older adults and their unpaid caregivers, as well as organizations and paid care providers that will be responsible for meeting their needs during and after an emergency. X Recommendation 6.3: A network of emergency preparedness researchers, older adults, unpaid caregivers, volunteers and providers needs to be created to encourage partnerships in the ongoing unpaid evaluation of emergency preparedness interventions targeting older adults. Network members should advocate for an increased focus on emergency preparedness research among the various societies or journals that they are members of. X Recommendation 6.4: There is a need to focus on research about unpaid caregivers and emergency preparedness to better instruct unpaid caregivers on how to take care of their vulnerable family members and friends during an emergency. X X Recommendation 6.5: There is a need to focus on research about emergency preparedness and response in Canadian community and congregate living settings for older adults (e.g. nursing, retirement and group homes and assisted living facilities). Research should:
Determine the existing levels of preparedness across these environments as well as highlight the challenges they face in being prepared.
Characterize the impact of the emergency on the older adult population and identify best practices on how to address future emergencies. X X APPENDIX A – A3 Appendix B: Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults Summary of Relevant Legislation and Framework Policy/ Legislation Province/ National Link Alberta’s Pandemic Influenza Plan by the Government of Alberta Alberta https://open.alberta.ca/publications/alberta-s-pandemic-influenza-plan Community Care and Assisted Living Act British Columbia https://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/02075_01 Pharmacy Disaster Preparedness (2009) a professional practice policy statement British Columbia http://library.bcpharmacists.org/6_Resources/6-2_PPP/5003-PGP-PPP25.pdf Preparing for Pandemic Influenza in Manitoba (Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response) Manitoba https://www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/pandemic.html Long-Term Care Homes Act Ontario https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/07l08 Ontario Health Plan for an Influenza Pandemic (2013) Ontario http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/emb/pan_flu/pan_flu_plan.aspx Quebec Pandemic Influenza Plan-Health Mission (2006) Quebec https://publications.msss.gouv.qc.ca/msss/en/document-001259/ An Emergency Management Framework for Canada (2017) by Public Safety Canada National https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/2017-mrgnc-mngmnt-frmwrk/index-en.aspx Canadian Pandemic Influenza Preparedness by Pan-Canadian public Health Network National https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/flu-influenza/canadian-pandemic-influenza-preparedness-planning-guidancehealth- sector.html Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Act National https://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/P-31.55/ Emergency Management Act (S.C. 2007, c.15) National https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/E-4.56/ Emergency Preparedness in Canada (refer to the highlights on Page 3) National https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/yprprdnssgd/index-en.aspx Federal/Provincial/Territorial Public Health Response Plan for Biological Events by Pan-Canadian Public Health Network (refer to Appendix L for the Response Plan) National https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/emergency-preparedness/public-health-response-plan-biological-events.html North American Plan for Animal and Pandemic Influenza (by Public Safety Canada) National https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/nml-pndmc-nflnz/index-en.aspx Quarantine Act (2005) National https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/q-1.1/page-1.html APPENDIX B – B1 253901-05 1/20

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CMA's submission to Finance Canada's consultation on ensuring the ongoing strength of Canada's retirement income system

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy9807

Date
2010-05-07
Topics
Physician practice/ compensation/ forms
  1 document  
Policy Type
Response to consultation
Date
2010-05-07
Topics
Physician practice/ compensation/ forms
Text
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is pleased to participate in the Government of Canada's consultation on ensuring the ongoing strength of Canada's retirement income system. Ensuring sufficient income in retirement is a concern for CMA's more than 72,000 physician members and the patients they serve. With the aging of the Canadian population and the decline in the number of Canadians participating in employer-sponsored pension plans, now is the time to explore strengthening the third pillar of Canada's government-supported retirement income system: tax-assisted savings opportunities. Two areas in need of government attention are tax-assisted savings vehicles for high-earning and self-employed Canadians, and vehicles available to help Canadians save to meet future continuing care needs. Like the Canadian population at large, physicians represent an aging demographic - 38% of Canada's physicians are 55 or older - for whom retirement planning is an important concern. In addition, the vast majority of CMA members are self-employed physicians and, as such, they are unable to participate in workplace registered pension plans (RPPs). This makes physicians more reliant on Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) relative to other retirement savings vehicles. As we saw during the recent economic downturn, the volatility of global financial markets can have an enormous impact on the value of RRSPs over the short- and medium-term. This variability is felt most acutely when RRSPs reach maturity during a time of declining market returns and RRSP holders are forced to 'sell low'. The possibility that higher-earning Canadians, such as physicians, may not be saving enough for retirement was raised by Jack Mintz, Research Director for the Research Working Group on Retirement Income Adequacy of Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers of Finance. In his Summary Report on Retirement Income Adequacy Research, Mr. Mintz reported that income replacement rates in retirement fall below 60% of after-tax income for about 35% of Canadians in the top income quintile. This is due to the effect of the maximum RPP/RRSP dollar limits, which is why the government should consider raising these limits. The CMA supports exploring ways to expand tax-assisted options available for retirement saving, particularly measures that would allow organizations to sponsor RPPs and Supplementary Employee Retirement Plans (SERPs) on behalf of the self-employed. Such changes could allow the growing ranks of self-employed Canadians to benefit from the security and peace of mind already available to Canadians with workplace pensions. CMA members favour a voluntary approach, both for employers/plan sponsors in deciding whether to sponsor such plans and for potential plan participants in choosing whether or not to participate. Just as the government should explore ways to modernize the rules governing registered pension plans to account for today's demographics and employment structures, so too should it explore ways to help Canadians save for their continuing care - including home care and long-term care - needs. When universal, first-dollar coverage of hospital and physician services-commonly known as 'medicare' - was implemented in Canada in the late-1950s and 1960s, health care within an institutional setting was the norm and life expectancy was almost a decade shorter than it is today. With Canadians living longer and continuing care falling outside the boundaries of Canada Health Act first-dollar coverage, there is a growing need to help Canadians save for their home care and long-term care needs. The attached backgrounder highlights the pressing need for greater support for home and long-term care in Canada, as well as some principles and options for governments to help Canadians pay for these services. It should be noted that the introduction of Tax-free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) in the 2008 federal budget created a new savings vehicle to support Canadians' continuing care needs. The CMA was pleased to see its introduction. Government action on these two related issues would benefit all Canadians. Expanding retirement-saving options for physicians would provide a strong incentive for physicians to stay in Canada. Similarly, by helping Canadians save for their own continuing care needs, governments could contribute to the health of elderly citizens and ease the demand on unpaid caregivers and government-funded continuing care. Ensuring that Canadians have the tools at their disposal to save for their continuing care needs and that Canada's physicians have the right tools to save for retirement are important issues for the CMA. Canada's physicians have long been active on these issues and government action on these files would benefit all Canadians. We are pleased to take part in Finance Canada's consultations and would welcome any further opportunities to participate. Sincerely, Anne Doig, MD, CCFP, FCFP President

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Health Canada consultation on Canadian drugs and substances strategy

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy14017

Date
2018-12-04
Topics
Pharmaceuticals/ prescribing/ cannabis/ marijuana/ drugs
Population health/ health equity/ public health
  1 document  
Policy Type
Response to consultation
Date
2018-12-04
Topics
Pharmaceuticals/ prescribing/ cannabis/ marijuana/ drugs
Population health/ health equity/ public health
Text
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is pleased to provide this submission in response to Health Canada’s consultation on new and innovative ideas on how to further strengthen the federal government’s health-focussed approach to substance use issues through the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy (CDSS) Question 1 What sorts of circumstances do you see within your networks, communities or in society that you think contribute to problematic substance use? There are multiple factors that contribute to problematic substance use. It is a serious, chronic and relapsing medical condition for which there are effective treatments. However, using the social determinants as a framework, most health promotion and prevention efforts will take place outside of the traditional health and medical care services. . Many Canadians face barriers in their physical, social and economic environments which can contribute to problematic substance use, and certain populations are at higher risk given these circumstances. For example, early childhood is a critical time in the social, emotional, cognitive and physical development of a person. Experiences in early life can ‘get under the skin’, changing the ways that genes are expressed. Negative experiences such as poverty or family or parental violence can have significant impacts on this important period of development. What is necessary is a coordinated effort across government sectors to ensure that all policy decisions serve to increase opportunities for health. Improving population health and reducing inequities should be an overall objective for all governments in Canada. Question 2 Have you seen or experienced programs, practices or models at the local or regional level that could be expanded, or implemented more broadly, to improve circumstances or social determinants of health that influence substance use? Income is critical to individual health and is closely linked to many of the other social determinants of health. These include but are not limited to: education, employment, early childhood development, housing, social exclusion, and physical environment. Adequate consideration must be given to the social and economic determinants of health, factors such as income and housing that have a major impact on health outcomes. Minimizing poverty should be a top priority. In 2015, the CMA passed a resolution endorsing the concept of a basic income guarantee, which is a cash transfer from government to citizens not tied to labour market participation. It ensures sufficient income to meet basic needs and live with dignity, regardless of employment status. A basic income guarantee has the potential to alleviate or even eliminate poverty. It has the potential to reduce the substantial, long-term social consequences of poverty, including higher crime rates and fewer students achieving success in the educational system. Drug use must not be treated with a criminal justice approach, which does not address the determinants of drug use, treat addictions, or reduce the harms associated with drug use. More investments need to be made in prevention, harm reduction and treatment, keeping individuals out of the criminal justice system. Drug use is a complex issue, and collaboration among health and public safety professionals, and society at large, is essential. Question 3 What needs to change to make sure that opioid medications are being provided and used appropriately, based on the needs of each patient? Policy makers must recognize that prescription opioids are an essential tool in the alleviation of pain and suffering, particularly in palliative and cancer care. Doctors support patients in the management of acute and chronic pain, as well as problematic substance use, and as such have long been concerned about the harms associated with opioid use. Treatment options and services for both problematic substance use as well as pain management are woefully under-resourced in Canada. Experts believe that improved access to specialized pain treatment could reduce inappropriate use of pain medications. Current best practices in pain management include care by an interprofessional team that could include physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and other health professionals; non-pharmaceutical interventions such as therapy for trauma and social pain, social supports and coping strategies; appropriate pharmaceutical prescription options, covered by provincial formularies; and a focus on patient participation and empowerment.12 Availability and access of these critical resources varies by jurisdiction and region. The federal government should prioritize the expansion of these services. It is also important to support clinicians in their practice. The 2017 Opioid Prescribing Guidelines need to be kept current through ongoing funding. Physicians require tools, including those that facilitate monitoring of effectiveness and tolerance by tracking pain and physical function; screening for past and current substance use; screening for depression; and, tapering of problematic or ineffective doses. Question 4 How can we make sure that those who require prescription opioids to manage their pain have access to them, without judgement or discrimination? Governments need to incorporate the identification and elimination of stigma as a quality of care indicator in the ongoing monitoring of health system performance at all levels. They also need to implement and evaluate national public awareness and education strategies to counteract the stigma associated with substance use issues as well as enforcing legislation and regulations to guard against discrimination against people with mental and substance use issues. Health professionals need to have access to education on pain management and treatment of problematic substance use, recognizing both issues as serious medical conditions for which there are effective treatments. Question 5 Which kinds of messages would work best to help Canadians understand the serious harms that can result from stigma around substance use? A recent report from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) and Public Safety Canada cited stigma as “an enormous barrier to individuals seeking and maintaining treatment.” Even though there is broad recognition that we are in a public health crisis, until very recently the focus of the federal National Anti-Drug Strategy was heavily skewed towards a criminal justice approach rather than a public health approach with an emphasis on enforcement, as opposed to prevention, treatment and harm reduction.8 This has serious implications in how society views people who use drugs. As noted in the CCSA-Public Safety report, “Language matters. Speak about people first, with compassion and respect.”13 A stigma reduction strategy must be core to the activities of the federal government. Stigma involves thoughts, emotions and behaviours; thus, a comprehensive approach includes interventions to target each of these dimensions at both the individual and population level. The strategy should include aspects of: * Public awareness and education to facilitate understanding about the importance of early diagnosis, treatment, recovery and prevention; * Enhanced provider/student education and support; * Policy analysis and modification of discriminatory legislation; * Support for a strong voluntary sector to voice the concerns of patients and their families; * Exposure to positive spokespeople (e.g. prominent Canadians) who have mental illness and/or addiction in order to highlight success stories; * Researching stigma. Question 6 How can we best act to reduce stigma across the country? Engagement with people who use drugs to help them share their stories and experiences with stigma with the public Question 7 What would you recommend to improve substance use treatment services in Canada? This challenge requires a complex and multifaceted solution; and to further this aim, Canada needs a comprehensive national strategy to address the harms associated with psychoactive drugs in Canada, whether illegal or prescription-based, complementing existing strategies to address the harms associated with the other two legal drugs - alcohol and tobacco. This comprehensive approach is necessary, as isolated measures can have unintended consequences, such as under-medicating people that require a medical treatment or constraining people to seek illegal drugs as an option when medications are made tamper-resistant. One of the fundamental principles of health care is that it be patient centred.11 CMA defines patient-centred care as “seamless access to the continuum of care in a timely manner … that takes into consideration the individual needs and preferences of the patient and his/her family and treats the patient with respect and dignity.” It is essential that patients be core members of the health care team, working with health care providers to address their individual needs, preferences and aspirations and to seek their personal paths to well-being. Physicians and other health professionals can help patients make choices about their treatment and can provide information and support to patients and their families as they seek to cope with the effects of problematic use and live functional lives. The health care provider community needs tools to assist in the reduction of stigma, access to resources and supportive environments. Question 8 What obstacles or barriers do people face when they want to access treatment in Canada? Obstacles to treatment include the lack of publicly-funded treatment centres, access to locations for remote areas, limited number of beds available, the cost of private treatment (lack of insurance), and stigma. The CMA supports the enhancement of access to options for treatment that address different needs.12 Treatment programs must be coordinated and patient-centred, and address physical, psychological, social and spiritual circumstances. For example, it is important that treatment programs be culturally relevant for Indigenous communities. Question 10 In addition to current harm reduction initiatives – such as supervised consumption sites, needle exchange programs – what other harm reduction services should governments consider implementing in Canada? There is a dire need to address harm reduction in prisons. Even back in 2005, the CMA recommended to the Correctional Service of Canada that it develop, implement and evaluate a pilot needle exchange program in prison(s) under its jurisdiction. These services are not widespread and accessible to prison populations. In Canada, people in prison face far greater risk of HIV and hepatitis C infection because they are denied access to sterile injection equipment as a harm reduction strategy. Hospitals need to incorporate harm reduction strategies as well, allowing people who use drugs to access much needed health services. Question 12 How can we better bring public health and law enforcement together to explore ways to reduce the cycle of involvement for people who use substances with the criminal justice system? Training for police and other frontline criminal justice and corrections workers in how to interact with people with substance use issues is essential. The CMA believes that the government must take a broad public health policy approach. Changes to the criminal law affecting cannabis must not promote normalization of its use and must be tied to a national drug strategy that promotes awareness and prevention and provides for comprehensive treatment.13 The CMA recognized that a blanket prohibition of possession for teenagers and young adults would not reflect current reality or a harm reduction approach. The possibility that a young person might incur a lifelong criminal record for periodic use or possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use means that the long-term social and economic harms of cannabis use can be disproportionate to the drug's physiological harm. Question 13 What further steps can the federal government take to better address current regulation and enforcement priorities, such as addressing organized drug crime and the dangerous illegal drugs like fentanyl being brought into Canada? The federal government must continue to work closely with the RCMP, local and provincial law enforcement agencies, Canada Post, the Canadian Border Services Agency, Crown attorneys, the Canadian military, and international health officials and law enforcement agencies to address this issue. This topic was covered in the recent CCSA/Public Safety Canada report.10 Question 14 Recognizing Indigenous rights and self-determination, how can all governments work together to address the high rates of problematic substance use faced by some Indigenous communities? Difficulties in access are particularly acute for Canada's Indigenous peoples. Many live in communities with limited access to health care services, sometimes having to travel hundreds of miles to access care. Additionally, there are jurisdictional challenges; many fall through the cracks between the provincial and federal health systems. While geography is a significant barrier for Indigenous peoples, it is not the only one. Indigenous peoples living in Canada's urban centres also face difficulties. Poverty, social exclusion and discrimination can be barriers to needed health care. Of all federal spending on indigenous programs and services only 10% is allocated to urban Aboriginals. This means that Aboriginals living in urban areas are unable to access programs such as Aboriginal head start, or alcohol and drug services, which would be available if they were living on reserve. Further, even when care is available it may not be culturally appropriate. Canada's indigenous peoples tend to be over-represented in populations most at risk and with the greatest need for care, making the lack of access a much greater issue for their health status. It is important that problematic substance use programs be culturally relevant for Indigenous communities. It is clear that the First Nations and Inuit peoples of Canada experience mental illness, problematic substance use and poor mental health at rates exceeding that of other Canadians.11 Individual, community and population level factors contribute to this including socioeconomic status, social environment, child development, nutrition, maternal health, culture and access to health services. The urgent need to work with these communities and identify the structures and interventions to reduce the burden of mental illness and substance use is critical to the health and wellness and future of First Nations and Inuit peoples. Enhanced federal capacity should be created through First Nations and Inuit Health that will provide increased funding and support for First Nations and Inuit community health strategies. The establishment of a working groups comprised of First Nations and Inuit health experts and accountable to First Nations and Inuit leadership is essential for the success of this initiative. Both expert and resource supports are integral elements to facilitate and encourage culturally appropriate strategies and programming in these communities. Question 15 What can we learn from Indigenous approaches to problematic substance use, such as using holistic approaches, that may help inform activities under the CDSS? The federal government must consult First Nations, Inuit, and Métis representatives to develop programs that are culturally relevant and appropriate for Indigenous communities. Question 16 How can governments, and the health, social, and law enforcement sectors design more effective substance use policies and programs for at-risk populations? The government must identify and consult those communities and populations most at risk. This includes First Nations, Inuit, and Métis representatives, community advocates, municipalities, and provincial and local public health officers. Data that describes rates of use and issues specific to each at risk group is important to be able to better understand and address needs. Question 17 What are effective policies and programs to help improve access to prevention, treatment, and harm reduction services for at-risk populations? There are innovative approaches to address the needs of high-volume users as well as at-risk populations. As many of these involve greater integration between health and the community sector and attention to issues not traditionally funded through health care payment systems, there is a need to provide access to funds to enable these innovations to continue and be spread across the country. A targeted, integrated approach to identify communities in need is required and this must be based on reliable community data (i.e., meaningful use of patient data) which can be used to integrate resources to improve health status. For example, the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) is Canada's first multi-disease electronic medical records (EMR) surveillance and research system that allows family physicians, epidemiologists and researchers from across the country to better understand and manage chronic care conditions for their patients. Health information is collected from EMRs in the offices of participating primary care providers (e.g. family physicians) for the purposes of improving the quality of care for Canadians suffering from chronic and mental health conditions and three neurologic conditions including Alzheimer's and related dementias. CPCSSN makes it possible to securely collect and report on vital information from Canadians' health records to improve the way these chronic diseases and neurologic conditions are managed (http://cpcssn.ca/). Question 18 What urgent gaps related to substance use (in terms of data, surveillance, and/or research) need to be addressed in Canada? Improvements are being made in the collection of data in Canada. This is crucial to be able to assess the harms and track the trends and impact of the introduction of policy changes.12 As well, the government must continue to improve the ability of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Health Information, the chief coroners of Canada and related agencies to collect, analyze and report data. One such program is the surveillance system in the United States called RADARS (Researched Abuse, Diversion and Addiction-Related Surveillance system) that is “a surveillance system that collects product-and geographically-specific data on abuse, misuse, and diversion of prescription drugs.” It surveys data involving opioids including poison control centres, treatment programs, on the “illicit acquisition or distribution of prescription opioids, stimulants, and other prescription drugs of interest from entities investigating drug diversion cases,” among other opioid-related issues. The CMA has recommended that all levels of government work with one another and with health professional regulatory agencies to develop a pan-Canadian system of real-time prescription monitoring. As a first step, the CMA recommends the establishment of consistent national standards for prescription monitoring. Prescription Monitoring Programs (PMP) should be compatible with existing electronic medical and pharmacy record systems and with provincial pharmaceutical databases. Participation in prescription monitoring programs should not impose an onerous administrative burden on health care providers. PMPs should not deter physicians from using controlled medications when necessary. Further, PMPs are a valuable component in addressing the gaps related to substance use. Question 19 How can we use research tools to better identify emerging substance use issues as early as possible? See above response to question 18 - “RADARS” Government of Canada. Consultation on strengthening Canada’s approach to substance use issues. Ottawa: Health Canada; 2018. Available: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/programs/consultation-strengthening-canada-approach-substance-use-issues.html (accessed 2018 Sep 5). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Health in all policies. Ottawa: The Association; 2015 Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Policypdf/PD15-10.pdf (accessed 2018 Nov 26). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Early childhood development. Ottawa: The Association; 2015. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Policypdf/PD15-03.pdf (accessed 2018 Nov 26). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Canadian Medical Association Submission on Motion 315 (Income Inequality). Ottawa: The Association; 2013. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/BriefPDF/BR2013-07.pdf (accessed 2018 Nov 26). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). CMA’s recommendations for effective poverty reduction strategies. Ottawa: The Association; 2017. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Briefpdf/BR2017-04.pdf (accessed 2018 Nov 26). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Bill C-2 An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Ottawa: The Association; 2015. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Briefpdf/BR2015-11.pdf (accessed 2018 Nov 26). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Statement to the House of Commons Committee on Health addressing the opioid crisis in Canada. Ottawa: The Association; 2016. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Briefpdf/BR2017-15.pdf (accessed: 2018 Nov 26). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Non-prescription availability of low-dose codeine products. Ottawa: The Association; 2017. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Briefpdf/BR2018-04.pdf (accessed 2018 Nov 26). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Health Canada consultation on restriction of marketing and advertising of opioids. Ottawa: The Association; 2018. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Briefpdf/BR2018-13.pdf (accessed 2018 Nov 26). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Harms associated with opioids and other psychoactive prescription drugs. Ottawa: The Association; 2015. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Policypdf/PD15-06.pdf (accessed 2018 Nov 26). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Joint Canadian Medical Association & Canadian Psychiatric Association Policy - Access to mental health care. Ottawa: The Association; 2016. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Briefpdf (accessed 2018 Nov 26). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Statement to the House of Commons Committee on Health addressing the opioid crisis in Canada. Ottawa: The Association; 2017. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Briefpdf/BR2017-15.pdf (accessed 2018 Nov 26). Public Safety Canada, Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. 2018 Law Enforcement Roundtable on the Opioid Crisis. Meeting Summary. Ottawa; 2018. Available: https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/lw-nfrcmnt-rndtbl-pd-crss-2018/index-en.aspx?utm_source=stakeholders&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=opioidcrisis (accessed 2018 Nov 29). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Study on Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction in Canada: Supplementary Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. Ottawa: The Association; 2006. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/BriefPDF/BR2006-01.pdf (accessed 2018 Nov 29). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Harms associated with opioids and other psychoactive prescription drugs. Ottawa: The Association; 2015. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Policypdf/PD15-06.pdf (accessed 2018 Nov 2018). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Bill C-45: The Cannabis Act. Ottawa: The Association; 2017. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Briefpdf/BR2017-09.pdf (accessed 2018 Nov 28). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Ensuring equitable access to health care: Strategies for governments, health system planners, and the medical profession. Ottawa: The Association; 2014. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Policypdf/PD14-04.pdf (accessed 2018 23 Nov). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Submission to Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation. Ottawa: The Association; 2014. Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Briefpdf/BR2015-06.pdf (accessed 2018 Nov 29). Radars System. 2018. Available: https://www.radars.org/. (accessed: 2018 Nov 29). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Harms associated with opioids and other psychoactive prescription drugs. Ottawa: The Association; 2015 Available: http://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Policypdf/PD15-06.pdf (accessed 2018 Dec 4). Sproule B. Prescription Monitoring Programs in Canada: Best Practice and Program Review. Ottawa, ON, 2015 Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. Available: http://www.ccsa.ca/Resource%20Library/CCSA-Prescription-Monitoring-Programs-in-Canada-Report-2015-en.pdf (accessed 2018 Dec 4).

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Health Canada consultation on edible cannabis, extracts & topicals

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy14020

Date
2019-02-20
Topics
Pharmaceuticals/ prescribing/ cannabis/ marijuana/ drugs
Population health/ health equity/ public health
  1 document  
Policy Type
Response to consultation
Date
2019-02-20
Topics
Pharmaceuticals/ prescribing/ cannabis/ marijuana/ drugs
Population health/ health equity/ public health
Text
The Canadian Medical Association appreciates this opportunity to respond to Health Canada’s consultation on the proposed regulations for edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals. The CMA’s approach to cannabis is grounded in public health policy. It includes promotion of health and prevention of problematic use; access to assessment, counselling and treatment services; and a harm reduction perspective. The CMA endorsed the Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines and has expressed these views in our recommendations to the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, recommendations regarding Bill C-45. As well, we submitted comments to Health Canada with respect to the consultation on the proposed regulatory approach for the Cannabis Act, Bill C-45. Canada’s physicians have a longstanding concern about the health risks associated with consuming cannabis. , Consumers use these products for both recreational and medical purposes, compelling the need for accuracy in the labeling as well as quality control in the manufacturing process.10 Cannabis Edibles, Extracts and Topicals Cannabis will have a different effect on the user, depending on whether it is smoked or ingested, as in an edible. It has been found that “smoking marijuana results in clinical effects within 10 minutes, peak blood concentrations occur between 30 and 90 minutes, and clearance is complete within 4 hours of inhalation. Oral THC does not reach significant blood concentration until at least 30 minutes, with a peak at approximately 3 hours, and clearance approximately 12 hours after ingestion.” Because of the delay in absorption when ingested, people might consume more to feel the psychoactive effects faster. This might lead to the consumption of very high doses and result in toxic effects, such as anxiety, paranoia and in rare cases, a psychotic reaction with delusions, hallucinations, incoherent speech and agitation. Rates of use of edibles are not well known. A recent study in California high schools found that “polyuse via multiple administration methods was a predominant pattern of cannabis use and report the first evidence, to our knowledge, of triple product polyuse of combustible, edible, and vaporized cannabis among youths.” We are limiting our response to Health Canada’s consultation questions that pertain to the CMA’s position with respect to cannabis and relate to our expertise and knowledge base. Proposed THC limits for the new classes of cannabis products Standardization within all classes of cannabis products in a legal regime is essential. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels in black market products can vary widely so one can never be assured of the strength being purchased, creating the potential for significant harm. , Experience in jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalized has shown that restrictions on the potency of products (i.e., THC limits) are necessary, given the higher risks of harm associated with higher potencies.2 Prohibition of high potency products is important.3 THC limits should be based on the best available evidence of safety for consumers. The increased potency of cannabis over the years raises concerns about its use in edibles, extracts and topicals, offering a significant challenge with respect to regulating their use. This becomes particularly worrisome with respect to preadolescents and adolescents who should avoid using cannabis due to concerns with the impact on the developing brain.2 Use has been associated with a “significant increased risk of developing depression or suicidality in young adulthood.” More research is needed with respect to the effects of cannabis on all age groups, especially children, adolescents and seniors. Saunders et al describe the case of an elderly patient with a history of coronary artery disease suffering what appears to have been a myocardial infarction after ingesting most of a marijuana lollipop that contained 90 mg of THC. Such cases demonstrate how crucial it is to establish appropriate levels of THC. This is an especially important consideration because “consuming cannabis-infused edibles may inadvertently result in toxicity because absorption can take hours, compared with minutes when smoking. An individual who does not yet feel an effect may over-consume.” Small children and people with cognitive impairment will not be able to read labels, so preventive measures are very important, as with any pharmaceutical. Since legalizing cannabis, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Poison & Drug Center has reported an increase in calls related to edible exposures. Children can accidentally eat products that contain cannabis, making them ill enough to seek medical assistance. The CMA maintains that the proposed draft regulations of 10 mg per discrete unit and package is too high and should be established at a maximum of 5 mg per dose, given the higher risks of overconsumption with edibles, the risks of accidents in children and the experience in other jurisdictions. Colorado’s limit was set at 10 mg per unit, and health authorities recognize that a lower limit would have been warranted to prevent more accidents. Other preventive measures, such as child proof packaging, are considered in other sections of this brief. The amount of THC must be displayed clearly and prominently on the package to help prevent accidental or overconsumption of the product. Rules addressing the types of ingredients and additives that could be used in edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals appropriately address public health and safety risks while enabling sufficient product diversity The CMA concurs with the proposed regulations. Experience in areas such as caffeinated, high-sugar alcoholic beverages provides ample evidence to proceed with restraint concerning the types of ingredients and additives that may be permitted in edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals. Proposed new rules for the packaging and labelling of the new classes of cannabis products The CMA reiterates its position with respect to the packaging and labelling of cannabis products as presented in its submission on the proposed approach to the regulation of cannabis.5 This includes:
a requirement for plain and standard packaging
prohibition of the use of appealing flavours and shapes,
a requirement for adequate content and potency labelling,
a requirement for comprehensive health warnings,
a requirement for childproof packaging, and
a requirement that the content in a package should not be sufficient to cause an overdose. Plain and standardized packaging is necessary with respect to edibles as their wider availability raises several public health issues, not the least of which is ingestion by young children. It is imperative that the packages and labels of edibles not resemble popular confectionaries, for example. As the Canadian Paediatric Society has noted, “the unintended consumption of edibles manufactured to look like sweets by younger children is particularly concerning.”15 Also, by “restricting the extent to which marijuana edibles can look and taste like familiar sweets, (it) could also keep the psychological barriers to marijuana initiation among children and adolescents from being lowered.” The CMA has adopted similar positions with respect to tobacco and vaping products. , , It is recognized that these regulations are targeted at products meant for the adult market, but the entry of these new classes also creates challenges beyond that audience. Teens are attracted to vaping cannabis rather than smoking it because “smoke is not combusted and also may allow for more covert use given the reduction in odor.” , As well, as “edibles have no odor, they are largely undetectable to parents.”23 The CMA views this as an opportunity to educate Canadians about the health, social and economic harms of cannabis especially in young people. Package inserts must outline and reinforce the health risks involved; they must also be designed by governments and health professionals, not cannabis producers or distributors. Inserts should include:5
information on securing the product in the home to prevent access by youth and children,
recommendations not to drive or to work with hazardous chemicals or operate equipment while using the contents of the package,
information on the health and social consequences (including legal penalties) of providing cannabis to those under a designated minimum age for purchasing, and
contact information for hotlines for poison control and for crisis support. Cannabis topicals, as outlined in the proposed regulations, would fall under the category of health products and be found in non-prescription drugs, natural health products, and cosmetics. The CMA believes that all health claims need to be substantiated with sufficient evidence that meets standards for efficacy, besides safety and quality, to protect Canadians from misleading claims.5 This is important because the level of proof required to obtain a Drug Identification Number (DIN) for prescription drugs is considerably higher than the level of proof required for a Natural Product Number (NPN); rigorous scientific evidence for effectiveness is needed for a DIN but not for an NPN. Consumers generally do not know about this distinction, believing that Health Canada has applied the same level of scrutiny to the health claims made for every product.5 Requirements for tamper-resistant and child-proof containers need to be in place to enhance consumer safety. More research is required to address the environmental concerns with extra packaging, which would result from single dose packaging. It is critical to put in place measures that make it difficult to ingest large doses of THC. Simply adding grooves to chocolate bars or baked goods, for example, separating different doses, is insufficient to prevent people, particularly children, from ingesting more than a dose (which in of itself is designed for an adult). As well, there is no guarantee that the THC is spread out uniformly throughout the product. More research is needed with respect to “determining risks and benefits through proper clinical trials;” that includes determining the safest level of THC for extracts and topicals to reassure consumers will not be harmed by these products.18 With regards to cannabidiol (CBD), it would seem that “published data from around the world has taught us that misleading labels as well as harmful contaminants are real and actual problems for CBD products.”18 Health claims need to be substantiated via a strong evidentiary process. There will be a need for careful monitoring of the health products released in the market and the health claims made.5 Experience has shown that regulations can and will be circumvented, and these activities will have to be addressed. Edible cannabis and the requirement for all products to be labelled with a cannabis-specific nutrition facts table Yes. The CMA supports the use of a cannabis-specific nutrition facts table (NFT) as described in the proposed regulations.1 These products should have the same standards and regulations applied to them as traditional food products do under the Food and Drugs Regulations. As such, a cannabis-specific nutrition facts table will help consumers differentiate them from standard food products. The proposal for the labelling of small containers and the option to display certain information on a peel-back or accordion panel The size of the container should not be an impediment to supplying consumers with the necessary information to make informed choices. Manufacturers should be required to use whatever method (peel-back or accordion panel) is most efficient and conveys all the necessary information. As the CMA noted in a recent brief with respect to tobacco labeling the “amount of space given to the warnings should be sufficient to convey the maximum amount of information while remaining clear, visible, and legible. The warnings should be in proportion to the packaging available, like that of a regular cigarette package.”20 Adding warnings on individual cigarettes, as we recommended, illustrates that it is feasible to apply important information to even the smallest surfaces.20 It is important to note that key information should be visible on the external part of the container, including the standardized cannabis symbol, ingredients and warnings. Proposal that the standardized cannabis symbol would be required on vaping devices, vaping cartridges, and wrappers Yes. As noted earlier, the CMA called for strict packaging requirements around both tobacco and vaping products.22 The requirement for the standardized cannabis symbol is an extension of that policy and to the labelling of cannabis products in general.5 Proposed new good production practices, such as the requirement to have a Preventive Control Plan, appropriately address the risks associated with the production of cannabis, including the risk of product contamination and cross-contamination Yes. The CMA concurs with this requirement. The requirement that the production of edible cannabis could not occur in a building where conventional food is produced Yes. The CMA concurs with this requirement. Separate facilities are necessary to prevent cross-contamination for the protection of consumer health and safety. Conclusion The CMA supports the federal government’s commitment to a three-year legislative review as it affords the opportunity to evaluate the regulations’ impact and adjust them as needed. It continues to be important to have good surveillance and monitoring systems, as well as to continue to learn from other jurisdictions where cannabis is legal for recreational purposes. Public education and awareness must accompany the introduction of new forms of cannabis, emphasizing the risks of accidental ingestion and overconsumption. It should also emphasize the need for safe storage of cannabis products, as well as personal possession limits. Much more research is needed into the impact of these new classes across all age groups, and into public health strategies that discourage use and increase harm reduction practices. It is fundamental that profit driven commercialization is rigorously controlled through taxation, regulation, monitoring and advertising controls, in a manner that is consistent with a public health approach. Government of Canada. Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 152, Number 51: Regulations Amending the Cannabis Regulations (New Classes of Cannabis) Ottawa: Health Canada; 2018. Available: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2018/2018-12-22/html/reg4-eng.html (accessed 2018 Dec 22). Fischer B, Russell C, Sabioni P, et al. Lower-risk cannabis use guidelines: A comprehensive update of evidence and recommendations. AJPH. 2017 Aug;107(8):e1-e12. Available: https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2017.303818?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed& (accessed 2019 Feb 01). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Legalization, regulation and restriction of access to marijuana. CMA submission to the Government of Canada – Task Force on cannabis, legalization and regulation. Ottawa: CMA; 2016 Aug 29. Available: https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy11954 (accessed 2019 Feb 01). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Bill C-45: The Cannabis Act. Submission to the House of Commons Health Committee. Ottawa: CMA; 2017 Aug 18. Available: https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy13723 (accessed 2019 Feb 01). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis. Ottawa: CMA; 2018 Jan 19. Available: https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy13838 (accessed 2019 Feb 04). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Health risks and harms associated with the use of marijuana. CMA Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health. Ottawa: CMA; 2014. Available: https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy11138 (accessed 2019 Feb 14). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). A public health perspective on cannabis and other illegal drugs. CMA Submission to the Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs. Ottawa: CMA; 2002. Available: https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy1968 (accessed 2019 Feb 14). Monte A, Zane R, Heard K. The Implications of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado JAMA. 2015 January 20; 313(3): 241–242 Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4404298/ (accessed 2019 Feb 15). Peters E, Bae D, Barrington-Trimis J, et al. Prevalence and Sociodemographic Correlates of Adolescent Use and Polyuse of Combustible, Vaporized, and Edible Cannabis Products JAMA Network Open. 2018;1(5): e182765. Available: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2703946 (accessed 2019 Feb 15). Wyonch R. Regulation of Edible and Concentrated Marijuana Products Intelligence Memos. Toronto: CD Howe Institute: 2018 Oct 2. Available: https://www.cdhowe.org/sites/default/files/blog_Rosalie_1002.pdf (accessed 2019 Feb 01). Vandrey R, Raber JC, Raber ME, et al. Cannabinoid Dose and Label Accuracy in Edible Medical Cannabis Products. Research Letter JAMA 2015 Jun 23-30;313(24):2491-3. Available: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2338239 (accessed 2019 Feb 06). Cascini F, Aiello C, Di Tanna G. Increasing Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol ( -9-THC) Content in Herbal Cannabis Over Time: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Curr Drug Abuse Rev. 2012 Mar;5(1):32-40. Available: https://www.datia.org/datia/resources/IncreasingDelta9.pdf (accessed 2019 Feb 14). Gobbi G, Atkin T, Zytynski T, et al. Association of Cannabis Use in Adolescence and Risk of Depression, Anxiety, and Suicidality in Young Adulthood. A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis JAMA Psychiatry. 2019 Feb 13. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4500. Available: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/2723657 (accessed 2019 Feb 15). Saunders A, Stevenson RS. Marijuana Lollipop-Induced Myocardial Infarction. Can J Cardiol. 2019 Feb;35(2):229. Available: https://www.onlinecjc.ca/article/S0828-282X(18)31324-2/fulltext (accessed: 2019 Feb 11). Grant CN, Bélanger RE.Cannabis and Canada’s children and youth. Paediatr Child Health. 2017 May;22(2):98-102. Available: https://www.cps.ca/en/documents/position/cannabis-children-and-youth (accessed 2019 Feb 06). Denver Public Heath. Substance Use Exposure Dashboard. Denver: Denver Public Health; 2018. Available: http://www.denverpublichealth.org/community-health-promotion/substance-misuse/substance-use-exposure-dashboard (accessed 2019 Feb 06). Neuwirth, J. (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment). Personal interview. (2019 Jan 30). Paradis C, April N, Cyr C, et al. The Canadian alcopop tragedy should trigger evidence-informed revisions of federal alcohol regulations. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2019 Feb 4. Available: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/dar.12896 (accessed 2019 Feb 14). MacCoun, RJ, Mello MM, Half-Baked — The Retail Promotion of Marijuana Edibles. N Engl J Med 2015; 372:989-991. Available: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1416014 (accessed 2019 Feb 5). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Health Canada Consultation on Tobacco Products Regulations (Plain and Standardized Appearance). Ottawa: CMA; 2018. Available: https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy13930 (accessed 2019 Feb 05). Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Health Canada’s Consultation on New Health-related Labelling for Tobacco Products Ottawa: CMA; 2018. Available: https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy13939 (accessed 2019 Feb 05). Canadian Medical Association (CMA) CMA’s Recommendations for Bill S-5: An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts Ottawa: CMA; 2017 Apr 7. Available: https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy13641 (accessed 2019 Feb 05). Johnson RM, Brooks-Russell A, Ma M, et al. Usual Modes of Marijuana Consumption Among High School Students in Colorado. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2016;77(4):580-8. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4987070/pdf/jsad.2016.77.580.pdf (accessed 2019 Feb 06). Friese B, Slater MD, Annechino R, et al. Teen Use of Marijuana Edibles: A Focus Group Study of an Emerging Issue. J Prim Prev. 2016 June 37(3):303–309. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4864086/pdf/nihms-766186.pdf (accessed 2019 Feb 06).

Documents

Less detail

Health Canada consultation on potential market for cannabis health products that would not require practitioner oversight

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy14125

Date
2019-09-03
Topics
Health care and patient safety
Population health/ health equity/ public health
  1 document  
Policy Type
Response to consultation
Date
2019-09-03
Topics
Health care and patient safety
Population health/ health equity/ public health
Text
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) appreciates this opportunity to respond to Health Canada’s consultation on potential markets for cannabis health products that would not require practitioner oversight.1 The CMA’s approach to cannabis is grounded in public health policy. It includes promotion of health and prevention of problematic use; access to assessment, counseling and treatment services; and a harm reduction perspective. The CMA endorsed the Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines2 and has expressed these views in our recommendations to the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation,3 and recommendations regarding Bill C-45.4 As well, we submitted comments to Health Canada with respect to the consultation on the proposed regulatory approach for the Cannabis Act, Bill C-45.5 We also responded to Health Canada’s recent Consultation on Edible Cannabis, Extracts & Topicals.6 Overview The CMA first expressed its concerns about the sale of natural health products containing cannabis in our response to the proposed regulatory approach to the Cannabis Act, Bill C-45.5 We recognize that, in general, health products include prescription health products, non-prescription drugs, natural health products, cosmetics and medical devices. Although all these products are regulated by Health Canada, they are subject to different levels of scrutiny for safety, efficacy and quality, and in some cases, industry does not need to provide scientific evidence to support the claims made on the label. Health Claims As with all health products, the CMA supports an approach in which higher risk products, that is, those for which health claims are made, must be subject to a more meticulous standard of review. Rigorous scientific evidence is needed to support claims of health benefits and to identify potential risks and adverse reactions. We support Health Canada’s proposal that authorized health claims for cannabis health products (CHP) would be permitted for treatment of minor ailments, on the strict condition they are substantiated via a strong evidentiary process. It is the view of the CMA that all such products making a health claim must be reviewed thoroughly for efficacy, as well as safety and quality, for the protection of Canadians.5 Recent experience in the United States supports this approach. A warning letter was sent to Curaleaf Inc. of Wakefield, Massachusetts, by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “for illegally selling unapproved products containing cannabidiol (CBD) online with unsubstantiated claims that the products treat cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, opioid withdrawal, pain and pet anxiety, among other conditions or diseases.”7 This is not the first time it was necessary for the FDA to take such action. The agency had sent letters on previous occasions to other businesses over claims “to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure serious diseases, such as cancer. Some of these products were in further violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act because they were marketed as dietary supplements or because they involved the addition of CBD to food.”7 The CMA shares the FDA’s concerns that such claims “can put patients and consumers at risk by leading them to put off important medical care.”7 A study conducted by Dalhousie University found that only 35.8% of respondents were familiar with the biochemical properties of CBD when asked what cannabinoid they thought was potentially a pain killer.8 Systematic reviews and guidelines have highlighted the state of the science and the limited indications for which there is evidence.9,10,11 Both cannabis and CBD specifically have been approved for use in a few conditions, but more research is needed in this rapidly growing field. For example, medical cannabinoids have been approved in several jurisdictions for the treatment of multiple sclerosis but the evidence of how well it works is limited. As the Canadian authors note, “carefully conducted, high-quality studies with thought given to the biologic activity of different cannabis components are still required to inform on the benefits of cannabinoids for patients with MS.”12 Consumers need to be reassured that health claims are being assessed thoroughly so they can make informed decisions.13 4 Packaging and Labelling Requirements The CMA has laid out its position with respect to packaging and labelling with respect to cannabis products.5,6 Strict packaging requirements are necessary as their wider availability raises several public health issues, not the least of which is ingestion by young children. Requirements for tamper-resistant and child-proof containers need to be in place to enhance consumer safety. To reiterate:
a requirement for plain and standard packaging
prohibition of the use of appealing flavours and shapes,
a requirement for adequate content and potency labelling,
a requirement for comprehensive health warnings,
a requirement for childproof packaging, and
a requirement that the content in a package should not be sufficient to cause a poisoning Prescription Drugs Containing Cannabis The CMA addressed prescription drugs containing cannabis in a previous brief.5 The level of proof required to obtain a Drug Identification Number (DIN) for prescription drugs is considerably higher than the level of proof required for a Natural Product Number (NPN); rigorous scientific evidence to support claims of efficacy is needed for a DIN but not for an NPN. Consumers generally do not know about this distinction, believing that Health Canada has applied the same level of scrutiny to the health claims made for every product. As a result, consumers presently do not have enough information to choose appropriate products. Prescription drugs are subject to Health Canada’s pharmaceutical regulatory approval process, based on each drug’s specific indication, dose, route of administration and target population. Health claims need to be substantiated via a strong evidentiary process. All potential prescription medications containing cannabis must meet a high standard of review for safety, efficacy and quality, equivalent to that of the approval of prescription drugs (e.g., Marinol® and Sativex®), to protect Canadians from further misleading claims. The CMA urges caution especially around exemptions for paediatric formulations that would allow for traits that would “appeal to youth.” The CMA understands that these products, used under strict health professional supervision, should be child friendly, for example, regarding palatability, but we do not support marketing strategies that would suggest their use is recreational (e.g., producing them in candy or animal formats). Recommendations 1. The CMA recommends that all cannabis health products, including those with CBD, making a health claim must be reviewed thoroughly for efficacy, as well as safety and quality, for the protection of Canadians. 2. The CMA recommends that strict packaging requirements be put in place with respect cannabis health products as their wider availability raises several public health issues, not the least of which is ingestion by young children. 3. The CMA recommends tamper-resistant and child-proof containers need to be in place to enhance consumer safety. 4. The CMA recommends that all potential prescription medications containing cannabis must meet a high standard of review for safety, efficacy and quality, equivalent to that of the approval of prescription drugs to protect Canadians from further misleading claims. 5 1Health Canada. Document: Consultation on Potential Market for Cannabis Health Products that would not Require Practitioner Oversight. Ottawa: Health Canada; 2019. Available: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/programs/consultation-potential-market-cannabis/document.html (accessed 2019 Aug 8). 2 Fischer B, Russell C, Sabioni P, et al. Lower-risk cannabis use guidelines: A comprehensive update of evidence and recommendations. AJPH. 2017 Aug;107(8):e1-e12. Available: https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2017.303818?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed&. (accessed 2019 Aug 8). 3 Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Legalization, regulation and restriction of access to marijuana. CMA submission to the Government of Canada – Task Force on cannabis, legalization and regulation. Ottawa: CMA; 2016 Aug 29. Available: https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy11954 (accessed 2019 Aug 8). 4 Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Bill C-45: The Cannabis Act. Submission to the House of Commons Health Committee. Ottawa: CMA; 2017 Aug 18. Available: https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy13723 (accessed 2019 Aug 8). 5 Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis. Ottawa: CMA; 2018 Jan 19. Available: https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy13838 (accessed 2019 Aug 8). 6 Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Health Canada Consultation on Edible Cannabis, Extracts & Topicals Ottawa: CMA; Available: https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy14020 (accessed 2019 Aug 8). 7 Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA warns company marketing unapproved cannabidiol products with unsubstantiated claims to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, opioid withdrawal, pain and pet anxiety. Media Release. Silver Spring, MD: FDA; 2019 Jul 23. Available: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-warns-company-marketing-unapproved-cannabidiol-products-unsubstantiated-claims-treat-cancer (accessed 2019 Aug 15). 8 Charlebois S., Music J., Sterling B. Somogyi S. Edibles and Canadian consumers’ willingness to consider recreational cannabis in food or beverage products: A second assessment. Faculty of Management: Dalhousie University; May, 2019 Available: https://cdn.dal.ca/content/dam/dalhousie/pdf/management/News/News%20%26%20Events/Edibles%20and%20Canadian%20Consumers%20English_.pdf (accessed 2019 Aug 20). 9 Allan GM. Et al. Simplified guideline for prescribing medical cannabinoids in primary care. Canadian Family Physician. Feb 2018;64(2):111. Available: https://www.cfp.ca/content/cfp/64/2/111.full.pdf (accessed 2019 Aug 29). 10 Health Canada. Information for Health Care Professionals. Cannabis (marihuana, marijuana) and the cannabinoids) Dried or fresh plant and oil administration by ingestion or other means Psychoactive agent. Ottawa: Health Canada; October 2018. Available: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/hc-sc/documents/services/drugs-medication/cannabis/information-medical-practitioners/information-health-care-professionals-cannabis-cannabinoids-eng.pdf (accessed 2019 Aug 29). 11 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: Current state of evidence and recommendations for research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2017. Available: http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/reports/2017/health-effects-of-cannabis-and-cannabinoids.aspx (accessed 2019 Aug 29). 12 Slaven M., Levine O. Cannabinoids for Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis JAMA Network Open. 2018;1(6):e183484. Available: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2706491 (accessed 2019 Aug 26). 13 Food and Drug Administration (FDA). What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD Consumer Updates. Silver Spring, MD: FDA; 2019 July 17. Available: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/what-you-need-know-and-what-were-working-find-out-about-products-containing-cannabis-or-cannabis (accessed 2019 Aug 29).

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Health Canada consultation on proposed vaping products promotion regulations

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy14128

Date
2020-01-20
Topics
Health care and patient safety
Population health/ health equity/ public health
  1 document  
Policy Type
Response to consultation
Date
2020-01-20
Topics
Health care and patient safety
Population health/ health equity/ public health
Text
Since 1867, the Canadian Medical Association has been the national voice of Canada’s medical profession. We work with physicians, residents and medical students on issues that matter to the profession and the health of Canadians. We advocate for policy and programs that drive meaningful change for physicians and their patients The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) appreciates this opportunity to respond to the notice as published in the Canada Gazette, Part 1 for interested stakeholders to provide comments on Health Canada’s proposed Vaping Products Promotion Regulations “that would (1) prohibit the promotion of vaping products and vaping product-related brand elements by means of advertising that is done in a manner that can be seen or heard by young persons, including the display of vaping products at points of sale where they can be seen by young persons; and (2) require that all vaping advertising convey a health warning about the health hazards of vaping product use.” Canada’s physicians, who see the devastating effects of tobacco use every day in their practices, have been working for decades toward the goal of a smoke-free Canada. The CMA issued its first public warning concerning the hazards of tobacco in 1954 and has continued to advocate for the strongest possible measures to control its use. The CMA has always, and will continue to support, strong, comprehensive tobacco control legislation, enacted and enforced by all levels of government. This includes electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). Our approach to tobacco and vaping products is grounded in public health policy. We believe it is incumbent on governments in Canada to continue working on comprehensive, coordinated and effective tobacco control strategies, including vaping products, to achieve the goal of reducing smoking prevalence. Introduction It is imperative that the regulations concerning the promotion of vaping products be tightened sooner rather than later. While the CMA views Health Canada’s proposed regulations as a step in the right direction, they should only be considered as the start of extensive regulatory, policy and public health work required to effectively address the harms associated with vaping. Vaping is not without risks. Evidence continues to grow about the hazards associated with the use of e-cigarettes, especially for youth and young adults. The emergence of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) in the United States and to a lesser extent in Canada, illustrates the danger these products can pose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that as of January 7, 2020 that there were 2,602 cases of hospitalized EVALI or deaths (57 so far) reported by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 2 U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). In an update published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, “younger age was significantly associated with acquiring THC-containing and nicotine-containing products through informal sources.” The report concludes with this warning: “Irrespective of the ongoing investigation, e-cigarette, or vaping, products should never be used by youths, young adults, or pregnant women.”3 In Canada, as of January 7, 2020, 15 cases of severe pulmonary illness associated with vaping have been reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada. A recent public opinion survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) indicates that Canadians are growing more concerned about the safety of vaping as more information on the potential harms becomes available. The survey found that the number of people saying that vaping does more harm than good rose from 35% in 2018 to 62% in 2019.5 Further, 17% of parents with children under 19 said their child either vaped or had tried it; 92% of those parents considered vaping harmful.5 Significant to this discussion is the fact that 90% of respondents support “banning advertisements of vaping products in areas frequented by young people. This includes areas such as bus shelters or parks, and digital spaces like social media.”5 As public unease continues to rise, the need for further tightening of regulations becomes vital. Unfortunately, the federal government is still behind the curve when it comes to the proliferation of vaping and the vaping industry. Health Canada will have to step up surveillance and enforcement if tightening of the regulations is to be effective. This brief will address the planned regulations as well as discuss important issues not covered such as nicotine levels and flavours. We have expressed concerns about these topics in previous consultations and will be reiterating them here. Promotion of Vaping Products The CMA appreciates Health Canada’s intent to tighten the regulations but this proposal is not sufficient, and we must reiterate our long-held position that the restrictions on the promotion of all vaping products and devices be the same as those for tobacco products. , The proposed regulations provides the vaping industry with too much latitude in their promotion activities to ensure youth are protected. As we noted in our response to Health Canada’s consultation on The Impact of Vaping Products Advertising on Youth and Nonusers of Tobacco Products, the advertisements that have been permitted to this point seem to have managed to find their way to youth, even if they are not directed at them, as has been asserted.7, We recommended vaping advertisements should not be permitted in any public places, broadcast media, and in publications of any type, with no exceptions. The CMA stands by that recommendation.7 The methods used by the vaping industry in the past succeeded in attracting more and more youth and young adults and it will no doubt continue efforts to find novel approaches for promoting their products, including the use of popular social media channels. , , , Indeed, “JUUL’s™ advertising imagery in its first 6 months on the market was patently youth oriented. For the next 2 ½ years it was more muted, but the company’s advertising was widely distributed on social media channels frequented by youth, was amplified by hashtag extensions, and catalyzed by compensated influencers and affiliates.”10 The vaping industry’s efforts to circumvent marketing restrictions in other jurisdictions are evident in view of some recent developments. A US study outlines an e-cigarette marketing technique that involves the promotion of scholarships for students. The study found 21 entities (manufacturers, e-cigarette review websites, distributors) offering 40 scholarships, ranging in value from $300 to $5000 (US).13 Most of the scholarships required “an essay submission, with most listing prompts related to e-cigarettes or eliciting information about the benefits of vaping.”13 The authors suggest “that prohibitions on e-cigarette scholarships to youth are also needed, as many of these scholarships require youth under the age of 18 years (for whom use of e-cigarettes are illegal) to write positive essays about vaping.”13 Health Warnings The CMA reiterates, yet again, its position that all health warnings for vaping products and devices should be similar to those presently required for tobacco packages in Canada.6, The need for such cautions is important in that we still do not understand fully the effects vaping can have on the human body. Harms More research is needed into the potential harms of using electronic cigarettes to understand the long-term effects users may face. , , The proposed health warnings are not strong enough in light of the research and knowledge that has emerged to date about the harms caused by e-cigarettes. For example, a recent US study highlighted the potential link between e-cigarette use and depression. It found “a significant cross-sectional association between e-cigarette use and depression, which highlights the need for prospective studies analyzing the longitudinal risk of depression with e-cigarette use.”18 As the authors note, “the potential mental health consequences may have regulatory implications for novel tobacco products.”18 Further, with respect to respiratory issues, a US study found that “use of e-cigarettes appears to be an independent risk factor for respiratory disease in addition to all combustible tobacco smoking.” The authors also don’t recommend the use of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool because “for most smokers, using an e-cigarette is associated with lower odds of successfully quitting smoking.”19 Nicotine Levels Nicotine levels and flavours are not addressed in this consultation. However, the CMA considers these issues to be vital in the effort to protect youth and young adults from the harms associated with e-cigarettes and will therefore provide comment in effort to speed movement toward resolving these problems. The CMA remains very concerned about the rising levels of nicotine available through the vaping process. They supply “high levels of nicotine with few of the deterrents that are inherent in other tobacco products. Traditional e-cigarette products use solutions with free-base nicotine formulations in which stronger nicotine concentrations can cause aversive user experiences.” Hammond et al noted in their 2019 study that “JUUL® uses benzoic acid and nicotine salt technology to deliver higher concentrations of nicotine than conventional e-cigarettes; indeed, the nicotine concentration in the standard version of JUUL® is more than 50 mg/mL, compared with typical levels of 3-24 mg/mL for other e-cigarettes.”9 The salts and flavours available to be used with these devices reduce the harshness and bitterness of the taste of the e-liquids with some of the competition delivering even higher levels of nicotine. The CMA called on Health Canada to restrict the level of nicotine in vaping products to avoid youth (and adults) from developing a dependence.20 Health Canada set the maximum level at 66 mg/ml while a European Union (EU) directive of 2014 indicates the level should not exceed 20 mg/ml. , Nicotine, among other issues, “affects the developing brain by increasing the risk of addiction, mood disorders, lowered impulse control, and cognitive impairment. , Utilizing the EU level as an interim measure until more scientific research is available to determine an optimal level is acceptable. Flavours On December 5, 2019, the Government of Nova Scotia became the first province or territory to announce it would institute a ban on sale of flavoured e-cigarettes and juices, as of April 1, 2020. The CMA recommends that flavours banned to reduce the attractiveness of vaping to youth as much as possible; others share this sentiment.6,7, Flavours are strong factors in attracting youth, especially when coupled with assertions of lower harm. Their success in doing so is evidenced by the rise in the rates of vaping among youth.9, A recent US study found that “perceiving flavored e-cigarettes as easier to use than unflavored e-cigarettes may lead to e-cigarette use progression among youth never tobacco users. Determining the factors (including e-cigarette marketing and specific e-cigarette flavors) that lead to perceived ease of using flavored e-cigarettes would inform efforts to prevent and curb youth e-cigarette use.” The CMA recommends that flavours be banned to reduce the attractiveness of vaping to youth as much as possible. Recommendations 1. The CMA recommends that vaping advertisements should not be permitted in any public places, broadcast media, and in publications of any type, with no exceptions. 2. The CMA reiterates its position that all health warnings for vaping products and devices should be similar to those for tobacco packages. 3. The CMA believes that the European Union 2014 directive indicating the nicotine concentration not exceed 20 mg/ml should be adopted as an interim measure until more scientific research is available to determine an optimum level. 4. CMA recommends flavours be banned to reduce the attractiveness of vaping to youth as much as possible.

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