The Arthritis Patient Charter
A Charter for Patients Created by Patients
The public perception of arthritis is a sore knee, hip or shoulder and the result of being fortunate enough to have lived a long, happy life. This is one picture; the other is that arthritis is a serious, life-altering, even life threatening condition that far too many Canadians live with in isolation and despair. In 2002 arthritis patients came together to form The Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA). For the past thirteen years we have, together with other arthritis organizations been working hard to dispel some of the myths around arthritis. In 2014 patients identified the need for an arthritis patient charter so people living with this misunderstood condition would know what they should be asking for with regard to treatments. The Charter development was led by CAPA and included the cooperation and input of many other organizations, a list of all can be found on the Charter page of our website. We reached out to Canadians living with arthritis to get their perspective on what they needed to live a life with quality and 730 people responded. We had responses from family members, caregivers, people who work in healthcare and even some from the Pharmaceutical industry – we wanted to have input from all stakeholders. In September 2014, in time for Arthritis Month, CAPA launched The Arthritis Patient Charter.
I have been living with Rheumatoid Arthritis for over thirty years. In the past three months my disease has returned and given me a renewed vision of why the work of CAPA and promoting the Charter is so important. Every day people living with arthritis struggle to do what most take for granted. The simple act of getting out of bed in the morning can feel like having to climb a mountain, every day. It becomes easier to give up and just stay home, further isolating us from the world around us. Everyday I hope the new treatment I started in January will start working. When it does I will be able to return to living my life. For now Rheumatoid Arthritis dictates what I’m able to do but I hope that our Charter will help educate others about what they should expect from the health care system in Canada.