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CoughAssistE70_ToddlerBedtime_CKHiLgIn April, thanks to Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s initiative and teamwork on respiratory care, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care announced increased funding for CoughAssist™ devices.

Now, eligible individuals, including those affected by neuromuscular disorders, have wider access to this vital equipment through the Ministry’s publicly funded Ventilator Equipment Pool.

“The right treatment at the right time can improve quality of life,” explains respiratory therapist, Faiza Syed of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. “There’s less suctioning between treatments, less overnight suctioning and a decrease in infections and hospitalizations. Parents and caregivers sleep better. Patients feel better, have more energy.”

Says Stacey Lintern, Executive Director for Ontario and Nunavut: “Progressive muscle weakness can put both adults and children at risk for respiratory failure.” She continues, “Access to these devices will help prevent unnecessary complications and promote healthy and active lives for adults and children affected by neuromuscular disorders.”

Although the Ontario announcement shows progress, there is still much work to be done. In some cases, individuals affected by neuromuscular disorders who live outside Ontario will continue to pay for a $5,500 to $7,500 CoughAssist™. These individuals, affected by weakened respiratory muscles, often turn to Muscular Dystrophy Canada for financial assistance.

Over the past two years, Muscular Dystrophy Canada has invested resources aimed at providing all Canadians with neuromuscular disorders with better access to respiratory health information and services. We conducted a series of regional, inperson information sessions on respiratory health and options for care. Along with the expertise of our team members, we produced a strategic report for government officials and decision-makers. As an instrument for change, this report identified gaps and opportunities in education, service, advocacy and research. It also recommended a leadership role for Muscular Dystrophy Canada with a focus on action priorities.

This year, with the contributions of health care content experts across Canada, we compiled and published a Guide To
Respiratory Care for Neuromuscular Disorders. This informative handbook for clients and families is also available online and published in English and French.

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This article is a part of the 2013-2014 Annual Report. To read more, please click here.

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