Navigating caregiving, chronic conditions a strain on Canadians, according to survey

Susan Eng CARP youtube
Click to watch coverage of Health Care Navigation Survey release from CARP, Sheridan College and Amgen.

For many Canadians, finding their way through the healthcare system is a daunting task. In fact, 81 per cent of Canadians find the system too complicated, and 78 per cent agree that navigating it is a challenge, according to a recent survey commissioned by CARP and the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research, and made possible by Amgen Canada.

  • 81 per cent of Canadians find the health care system too complicated, and 78 per cent agree that navigating the system is a challenge
  • Canadians find caregiving and managing their chronic conditions to be the biggest challenges to navigating the system
  • Experts will discuss patient navigation challenges at a Toronto Region Board of Trade panel today, sponsored by Amgen Canada
  • CARP and Sheridan Centre for Elder Research are developing a prototype app solution for patient navigation

When asked what presents the biggest challenges to navigating the system, Canadians identified management of chronic disease as the most important challenge – not surprising given that three in five Canadians over the age of 20 have at least one chronic condition.

They also identified caregiving as a heavy burden, with almost eight out of 10 ranking it as a difficult challenge. With more than 8 million Canadians providing care or assistance to a loved one, the scope of this challenge is immense.

“With the population continuing to age, and the rate of chronic disease on the rise, Canadians will rely more heavily on the healthcare system, either for themselves or a loved one – and sometimes both,” said Anthony Quinn, VP of community development for CARP. “Figuring out how to navigate the system is a critical issue for CARP members, and a growing number of Canadians. We need to work collectively to explore and find solutions to help ease the strain on Canadians and the system.”

In addition to the stresses inherent with taking care of a family member or loved one, caregiving can also present a significant impact to the choices Canadians are making in their working lives, as well as to the Canadian economy. In 2012 alone, nearly 600,000 Canadians reduced their working hours due to caregiving, and 390,000 quit their jobs to provide care.1 Chronic conditions are also having an increasingly negative impact on the Canadian economy “ 10 of the most common chronic conditions generated an economic burden of $119 billion in 2010 – $40 billion more than in 2000.2

“Removing barriers and helping find solutions that address patient navigation challenges will be paramount in reducing the burden to Canadians and the system,” said Lia Tsotsos, acting director of the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research. “We need to explore innovative ways to ensure that Canadians can learn about, and access, the resources they need to support them.”

Health care experts discussed these patient navigation challenges, and the impact they have on the economy, at a panel discussion at the Toronto Region Board of Trade, on October 22nd, 2014, presented by Amgen Canada.

  • Susan Eng, VP, Advocacy, CARP
  • Paul Taylor, Patient Navigator, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • Stephen Shea, Managing Partner, People, Ernst & Young
  • Tim Clarke, Chief Innovation Officer, Health and Benefits, Aon Hewitt
  • Louis Theriault, Conference Board of Canada and Executive Director, Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care

“At Amgen Canada, our mission is to serve patients. We recognize the complexities of the health care system and the challenges Canadians face,” said Geoff Sprang, executive director, Amgen Canada. “We believe that continued innovation can provide unique solutions to addressing these challenges, and are pleased to support the important work of CARP and the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research, to contribute to the broader public discussion on important health care issues.”

To assist Canadians with their patient navigation challenges, CARP and the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research have also partnered to develop a smartphone/mobile app technology solution to help Canadians find the services they need with a few finger taps, made possible by Amgen Canada. The patient navigation tablet technology prototype previewed at the ZoomerShow Lifestyle Expo which took place in Toronto on October 25th and 26the.

About the survey

H+K Strategies research practice partnered with Probit Inc. to conduct a study on behalf of Amgen Canada and CARP in May and June, 2014. The study consisted of 1,542 members of CARP and an additional 2,274 Canadians from Probit’s probability based panel. The sample of 2,274 Canadians has an associated margin of error of +/- 2.1%, 19 times out of 20.

About CARP

CARP is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada‘ promoting social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination. CARP is committed to promoting, protecting and enhancing the interests, rights, and quality of life for all Canadians as they age. To learn more about CARP, please visit

About Sheridan Centre for Elder Research

The Sheridan Centre for Elder Research provides a unique environment for conducting applied research into areas of practical concern and immediate relevance to older adults and their families. The Centre is committed to developing innovative approaches and creative interdisciplinary partnerships that focus on enhancing the lives of older Canadians. To learn more about the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research, please visit

About Amgen Canada

Amgen Canada is an innovative biotechnology company serving patients throughout Canada by delivering vital medicines to them. As a leader in innovation, the company contributes to the development of new therapies and new uses for existing medicines in partnership with many of Canada’s leading health-care, academic, research, government and patient organizations. To learn more about Amgen Canada, visit