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Health

Objective

To ensure that vision care and vision rehabilitation services are viewed as being in the domain of Canada's health care services, and that health and health care providers are aware of the needs of blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians.

Need for Action

In Canada, vision rehabilitation services (such as orientation and mobility training, daily living skills training, and specialized devices) are not, with the exception of Quebec and (as of 2017) Ontario, provided for within the context of provincial health care services.  When a person breaks their leg, they are offered physiotherapy rehabilitation services through public health care providers.  When a person loses their vision, either gradually or suddenly, they are instead referred to private, charitable organizations such as CNIB for rehabilitation services.  It is AEBC's contention that such services should be provided for through existing provincial health care channels.

Furthermore, anecdotal experience indicates that many health care workers lack the awareness or training to adequately address the needs of blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted patients.  Greater attention must be paid to the unique needs of these patients.  While the needs aren't great - remembering to announce when entering or leaving the patient's room, for example - they are often overlooked by those providing health care services.

Proposed Solutions

  1. Vision rehabilitation and support services should be provided through provincially-funded health care facilities.  In some provinces (notably Quebec and Ontario), such services, while often delivered by community organizations, are funded through provincial health care programs (RAMQ), and thus are not wholly dependant upon donor dollars as they are in other provinces.
  2. Nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals should be provided with brief but effective training on how they can better meet the needs and provide practical assistance to blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted consumers.

How You Can Help

  • Speak with your elected representatives (particularly at the provincial level) about the need for vision rehabilitation services to be provided through public health care channels, as they are for other conditions.