Public Health in Canada and 5 Current Trends

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    ealthcare is one of Canada’s most important sectors. There were about 3 million people employed in paid care occupations in 2016, and recent data show that hospitals employ over 650,000 Canadians. Beyond jobs, the physical and mental well-being of citizens is at the heart of the healthcare sector. 

    While long waiting times, shortage of healthcare workers, and cost of accessing treatment are perennial issues in the sector, we briefly discuss below 5 topics (some negative, some positive) that still deserve attention.

    Covid 19

    The coronavirus disease broke out in winter 2019, and was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in March 2020. At this time, aided by advances in international travel, the virus had spread to almost every country in the world including Canada (which recorded its first case on January 25). Like other countries, Canada declared a nationwide lockdown to reduce the spread and impact of the respiratory virus.

    According to latest figures, Canada has reported a total of 4.6 million cases and 52,000 deaths. The virus did not just take lives, it also affected the workforce of the health sector in terms of unavailability of professionals. Hence with the simmering of events, there’s more room for fresh hands in healthcare.

    Seniors’ Care

    Canada is regarded as having a youthful population as about 65% of inhabitants are younger people in the 15-64 age range. Nonetheless, there is evidence that the country is ageing.

    There is therefore concern about seniors’ access to quality health care and professionals. Issues like shortages in long-term care beds and access to more formal caregivers are rife across provinces. There is an acute need for more formal and more permanent caregivers to replace, or augment the current system where most caregivers are part-time and temporary.

    Mental Health

    Black and white image of a person with mental illness
    Image by Elina Araja on Pexels

    According to a 2021 study released by Statistics Canada, one in four Canadians between 18 and 34 reported a need for mental health care. Of this class, slightly more than half (53%) reported that their need was either unmet or only partially met. Some of these needs include counselling, therapy or medications. Respondents listed a range of reasons their needs were not met, including employment barriers, distrust in the healthcare system and availability of service care. 

    The shortage of psychologists (of which there are 19,500) and psychiatrists in the public health system is the leading cause of delay experienced by patients who have to wait for months to get professional help. To avoid the long wait list, individuals who are fortunate enough pay out of pocket or revert to employment-based benefits to access private services.

    Rural Healthcare

    From Chetwynd in Northern British Columbia to Attawapiskat in Northern Ontario, one trend is common to Canada’s rural or northernmost communities: access to healthcare is difficult, and can be expensive for the inhabitants of those communities.

    Emergency closures, unavailability of professionals like physicians and nurses, and delays with emergency services like ambulances are typical experiences for residents in rural Canadian communities. 

    There are many instances where patients have to travel hundreds of kilometres by road, or by air to access critical health services at the nearest medical hubs incurring high extra costs and further physical strain.

    Policymakers need to be deeply committed to resolving the equity gap between rural and urban Canada as prompt access to healthcare will invigorate the economies of rural communities.

    Artificial Intelligence

    Image of a white robot representing AI
    Image by Alex Knight on Pexels

    The world was caught by storm in late 2022. The almighty ChatGPT was born. From then on, the term Artificial Intelligence or (AI) has become a regular feature of discussions.

    The breathtaking technology is not only changing the way we search, conduct research, or do other knowledge jobs, experts have touted that AI will change the whole of society including how health services are dispensed.

    Just as AI is improving the way we search, trade stocks, or monitor the weather, it is also helping professionals like physicians make better and faster diagnoses. Healthcare researchers can also reach more reliable conclusions.

    Wearable Technology

    Image of a smartwatch representing smart devices and wearable technology
    Image by Torsten Dettlaff

    Along with smartphones, smartwatches have become a common feature of everyday living. They are fashionable, tell the time and also have the additional function of being health monitors. There are also smart gloves, smart textiles, smart rings, implants and a whole lot more. These devices do a good job monitoring heart rate, blood pressure, and calories. They can also warn about serious conditions like heart attacks and seizures.

    Final Thoughts

    Whether it is rural healthcare, care for seniors or mental health, there is a common trend in the health sector: a growing need for professionals in various capacities to contribute to the dispensation of service to patients.

    You can take the first step to a fulfilling career in healthcare by earning a diploma from ABM College in courses like Medical Office Assistant, Health Care Aide, Dental Office Administration and others.

    Contact us today to learn more about our programs.

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