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For the millions of at-risk Canadians, COVID-19’s impact is serious, immediate, and far-reaching — learn how HealthPartners is working to support patients through charity investment.

Chronic disease doesn’t stop for a pandemic, and neither has the work of 16 of Canada’s most-trusted health charities. As a collaboration of these leading health charities, HealthPartners sees the impact on Canadians and the response to the new demand by its members. That’s welcome news for the 87% of Canadians likely to be affected by chronic disease, who are also those at the greatest risk from COVID-19.

For the millions of at-risk Canadians, COVID-19’s impact is serious, immediate, and far-reaching. Urgent transplants and medical treatments have been postponed as hospitals and chronic care services redirect their resources to COVID-19 efforts. Diagnostic services have been delayed. Social isolation is causing increased stress and mental health issues.

The programs and services that Canadians with a chronic health condition have come to rely on, such as home visits by social workers, friendly visiting services, counselling, and regular check-ins, have been put on hold. The people who care for family members with a debilitating condition such as ALS, muscular dystrophy, dementia, or Parkinson’s disease are more overwhelmed than ever.

Assisting patients through transition

It hasn’t been easy for Canada’s health charities to shift quickly to address the increased demand in services and supports. Many have had to lay off staff. But shift they did. Our health charity members are continually finding new virtual ways to deliver the quality supports that Canadians depend on. For example:

  • ALS Canada is using video conferencing to host online support groups to reduce the impact of social isolation and to foster peer learning.
  • A number of charities that offered summer camps for kids living with arthritis, diabetes, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, cancer, a bleeding disorder like hemophilia, or asthma found a way to bring the camp experience online.
  • Diabetes Canada is broadcasting weekly videos with experts who offer personalized medical advice.
  • The Lung Association is providing tips and other resources to help patients access medication during the pandemic.
  • Both Muscular Dystrophy Canada and Parkinson Canada are giving exercise sessions through video and teleconferencing.
  • With a view to the future, Alzheimer Canada has formed a dementia task force to address the gaps in our health care system that have left many Canadians with dementia in need of help.
  • And, research dollars invested by the Canadian Cancer Society are being used to protect patients from COVID-19.

Support needed

But with fundraising dollars plummeting due to the inability to hold events and campaigns, such as the Canadian Cancer Society’s daffodil campaign, Canada’s 16 leading health charities have seen their revenues drop by more than half. They — and the 9 out of 10 Canadians likely to be affected by chronic disease — need your support now more than ever.

In every family, in every community across the country, the people who have a chronic health condition or major disease have been impacted by COVID-19 in countless ways.

Please support the charitable sector’s call for assistance. We are your neighbours, your friends, and your lifeline when you need it most. Please give generously to our COVID-19 Resiliency Fund at HealthPartners.

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