Assistive Devices: Regulation and Coverage in Canada
Rapid Review 4, prepared for Converge3, October 2018
Peckham A, Kashef Al-Ghetaa R, Ho J, Marchildon G
English – [PDF]
Assistive devices aim to provide individuals with tools that can support the management of their health and social needs. These devices are often used to support hospital discharge, maintain independence in the home, and to support active participation at home, work, and in the community. Given that the proportion of older adults in Canada is growing (Statistics Canada, 2014) and assistive devices usage increases with age (Statistics Canada, 2015), we can expect increased pressure for public funding and/or provision of assistive devices. Despite the acknowledged value of having access to assistive devices, the degree to which provinces and territories (P/T) publicly support such access varies. How decisions are made are then a result of two imperatives: the first a consequence of the democratic process where decisions are made on the basis of unique interest group pressures, politics and historical policies within individual jurisdictions; the second on the basis more technocrat recommendations through deliberate processes (e.g. health technology assessments) based on clinical and cost effectiveness analyses. This review looks to identify all Canadian jurisdictions that offer publicly supported assistive devices programs and to identify program characteristics, including: program mandates, eligibility criteria, types of devices included/excluded, how decisions to include/exclude are made, the funding mechanisms used (private insurance, user fees, public insurance, a mix), and how the funding approaches are decided.