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Internet solutions

Web portal helps Canadians care for loved ones

OTTAWA – Canadians who care for family and friends will soon have access to an innovative web portal tool that will equip them with information they need to provide the care their loved ones deserve.

The bilingual (French and English) web portal tool will contain information on providing care, respite supports, financial advice, discussion boards for connecting with one another and a Caregiver Electronic Record (CER), which will serve to connect caregivers to home and community care sectors.

The CER will provide caregivers with an electronic way to help them monitor their personal care-giving issues and the details about the care they are providing. This record will take into consideration the needs of the caregiver, the care recipient and the community care professional.

“This portal is an important step toward supporting millions of caregivers in Canada,” said Judith Shamian (pictured), President & CEO of VON Canada. “VON Canada has for many years recognized the important role family and friend caregivers play in the delivery of healthcare. This portal is an important step in connecting this community to one another and to other sectors of the healthcare system.”

The initiative is supported by a $1 million investment from Canada Health Infoway and designed to support the 3 million Canadians who provide a staggering 2 billion hours of care to loved ones. These caregivers give their time at home or in the community, saving the healthcare system an estimated $5 billion a year.

“The caregiver portal is one of many examples of emerging technologies that are managing the vast flow of information that is critical to delivering quality care,” said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway. “It’s important to recognize the important role of family and friends who care for their loved ones. This project is about equipping these caregivers with a tool they can use to support the important work they do.”

To ensure the portal offers insight into the future needs of caregivers, assesses how technology can help deliver healthcare and allows policy makers to plan for the needs of caregivers, the portal will feature an evaluation component guided by the Waterloo Institute of Health Informatics Research (WIHIR).

Additional benefits include enhanced care at the home and in the community and reduced visits to clinics, physician offices and emergency departments. The portal is expected to be launched in June, 2008.

VON is dedicated to being a leader in the delivery of innovative comprehensive health and social services and to influencing the development of health and social policy in Canada. A national health organization and registered charity, VON offers a wide range of community healthcare solutions that meet the needs of Canadians from coast to coast. VON is committed to continuous quality improvement and is accredited by the Canadian Council of Health Services Accreditation.

Infoway is a federally funded, independent, not-for-profit organization that is leading the development and implementation of electronic health projects across Canada. Infoway works with provinces and territories to invest in electronic health projects, which support safer, more efficient healthcare delivery.