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September is Arthritis Awareness Month in Canada

Month of SeptemberSeptember is Arthritis Awareness Month in Canada. To celebrate arthritis awareness, Arthritis Broadcast Network highlights some of the best advocates and supporters of arthritis.

Throughout the month of September, we will be profiling people who have been making a difference in the arthritis world. We will be profiling researchers, bloggers, and individuals living with the disease. These are our “Arthritis Superheroes”.

To start off our “Arthritis Superheroes” series, ABN wants to share with you the Arthritis Patient Charter.

Team effort

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Arthritis Patient Charter is a joint effort between all groups in the arthritis community working together under the leadership of the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA). The landscape of arthritis and healthcare continues to evolve. The Charter serves as a tool to reflect on these changes and to provide patients and the community with a tool that states the rights and responsibilities of arthritis patients today. The ultimate goal is to enable people with arthritis to reach their full potential.

With the initial support from the ORA, CAPA reached out to various patient groups (including Arthritis Consumer Experts, the Canadian Spondylitis Association, Patient Partners) and individual patients, and gained input and support from The Arthritis Society, Canadian Rheumatology Association, and the Arthritis Alliance of Canada, to create a new draft of the Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, now renamed the Arthritis Patient Charter. Furthermore, these groups sought input from their own stakeholder groups through a published survey seeking input on the Charter’s contents. Over 730 stakeholders from across Canada responded, and their comments are incorporated in this new Charter. In just eight short months, CAPA mobilized the Canadian arthritis community and created the new Charter.

To read the original Arthritis Bill of Rights, please click here.

The Arthritis Patient Charter states the following:

People with arthritis have the right to:

  • Be treated with dignity, respect and consideration. This includes being heard by healthcare providers who respect privacy and confidentiality.
  • A timely and accurate diagnosis. Arthritis leads to significant joint damage when left undiagnosed and untreated.
  • Timely access to all types of high-quality care. This includes access to all qualified healthcare providers and professionals.
  • Readily available current information, education and support programs about arthritis and evidence-based arthritis care.  People living with arthritis have the responsibility to learn about arthritis and arthritis care.
  • Be informed and participate with their healthcare providers in all treatment decisions. This includes discussing treatment risks and benefits and timely access to medical records. People with arthritis have a responsibility to live a healthy lifestyle, speak openly with their healthcare providers, ask questions about treatment and follow the agreed upon course of treatment.
  • Equal public reimbursement and timely access in all provinces and territories to available medication and non-medication treatments. Surgery and rehabilitation therapy that improve activities of daily living and quality of life should not be considered elective.
  • Live their lives fully without discrimination. Enjoying life to its fullest potential includes taking part in family, social activities, school and employment.  This may require removal of barriers and access to disability programs.
  • See that research is underway to find a cure and improve quality of life. Arthritis research must: be funded to an amount equal to other chronic illnesses and include people with arthritis to help set priorities, participate as research partners or in clinical trials and benefit from its discoveries.
  • Be included in the development of health policies and programs that affect them. The voices of people living with arthritis must be considered to develop the most relevant and meaningful policies and programs.

People with arthritis have the responsibility to:

  • Learn about arthritis and arthritis care.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle and speak openly with their healthcare providers.
  • Ask a question about treatment and follow the agreed upon course of treatment.

The following files are available for you to use and download (just click on the title here): Charter postcard (shortened version) and Charter poster version (long version, regular paper)

CAPA Patient Charter