Canada launches first ever diabetes charter

by Barbara Hewitt on May 13, 2014

The Canadian Diabetes Association has launched the country’s first ever diabetes charter aimed at ensuring those with the condition receive a suitable standard of care and support across the country.

‘The need for the Diabetes Charter [in] Canada has never been more clear. Diabetes is a public health issue of epidemic proportions. More than nine million Canadians are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes. They should have the opportunity to access the care and support they need to live the healthiest lives possible,’ said Richard Blickstead, President and CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Association.

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More than nine million Canadians are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes

‘Across Canada, people living with diabetes frequently experience stigma, a lack of public awareness, and misunderstanding about the disease. This is particularly important for those populations with a high prevalence of diabetes or who have special challenges related to diabetes management,’ he pointed out.

The Canadian government and the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) are also supporting the charter. ‘The number of seniors in Canada with diabetes is rising, so it is critical that all governments come together to devise a seniors care strategy, one that helps ensure good care for Canadians living with chronic conditions such as diabetes,’ says Dr. Chris Simpson, President Elect of the Canadian Medical Association.

The Diabetes Charter for Canada aims to be a shared voice of the diabetes community, including people with diabetes, their caregivers and health care providers. It presents a common vision through a set of principles that confirm the commitments of the diabetes community concerning diabetes prevention and management, support and care.

It calls for diabetics to be treated with dignity and respect, to receive equal access to high quality diabetes care and supports and seeks to enhance the health and quality of life for those living with diabetes and their caregivers.

‘The Diabetes Charter for Canada will serve as a catalyst for positive change over time, and help all Canadians living with diabetes reach their full health potential,’ added Blickstead.

The Canadian Diabetes Association has also updated its position statement for schools. It states that all pupils with diabetes have the right to be full and equal participants in school and all school-related activities without the fear of being excluded, stigmatised, or discriminated against.

It says that school boards should develop and communicate a comprehensive diabetes management policy that includes the roles and responsibilities of the pupils living with diabetes, their parents/caregivers and school personnel.

‘To maintain long term good health, individuals living with diabetes must balance medication, including insulin, food and activity every day. With support from school personnel, most students can manage their diabetes independently while in school. However, some students are unable to perform daily diabetes management tasks and may require someone to assist with or to administer insulin, monitor blood glucose, or supervise food intake and activity,’ the association points out.

Schools should permit students living with diabetes to monitor their blood glucose (sugar), administer insulin and treat low blood glucose (hypoglycaemia) and high blood glucose (hyperglycaemia) conveniently and safely wherever and whenever required.

School personnel should be trained to recognise emergency situations and to respond appropriately according to the student’s individual care plan and should be trained to administer glucagon in the event of a severe hypoglycaemic reaction.

It also says that given the seriousness of the condition, parents, caregivers, students and school personnel must be clear and confident in their roles and responsibilities. ‘The Canadian Diabetes Association wishes to work in partnership with provincial and territorial governments and school boards to establish diabetes school policy that will meet the needs of students living with diabetes,’ it adds.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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