National Arthritis Awareness Program

CRA Interview Series 2015 – Linda Wilhelm on the Arthritis Patient Charter

Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA) and Allied Health Professions Association (AHPA) Interview Series 2015

Today’s feature interview – Linda Wilhelm on the Arthritis Patient Charter

ABN reporters from Canada’s arthritis consumer organizations interviewed leading health professionals and researchers during last month’s CRA and AHPA annual meetings.

Beginning March 9, feature interviews will be posted on the ABN YouTube channel Please help us raise awareness about the important work going on in Canada by sharing the interviews with your organizational and social networks.

About Linda Wilhelm

Picture of Linda

Linda Wilhelm is a mother, a grandmother, and an arthritis advocate who has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for over 30 years. Her advocacy work includes the following:

  • Atlantic Canada representative and Co-chair for the Consumer Advisory Council.
  • Operations committee member of the Best Medicines Coalition.
  • Frequent participation on Health Canada’s advisory panels and conferences on access and drug safety.
  • Two term member of The Expert Advisory Committee for Vigilance of Health Products.
  • Member of the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network’s steering committee.
  • Active advocate for treatment access and quality of care both regionally and nationally.
  • Past board chair for the New Brunswick Division of The Arthritis Society.
  • President of the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance.

The Arthritis Patient Charter

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.