Best practice recommendations for Canadian harm reduction programs that provide service to people who use drugs and are at risk for HIV, HCV, and other harms – part 1

In brief

Drug use practices that can lead to transmission of immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other harms (such as reusing and sharing injection and smoking equipment) are a critical public health issue that affects communities across Ontario and Canada.

Evidence shows that effective prevention programs for people who use drugs can reduce transmission of HIV and hepatitis B (HBV), and other harms related to drug use. Harm reduction programs, like needle and syringe programs, lead to fewer people having HIV and less needle and equipment reuse, and are cost effective.

This report presents part 1 of best practice recommendations to improve the effectiveness of harm reduction programs that deliver prevention services to people who use drugs and are at risk of HIV, HBV, and hepatitis C, and other harms. 

EENet has developed a Research Report Round-up of the report, “Best Practice Recommendations for Canadian Harm Reduction Programs that Provide Service to People Who Use Drugs and Are at Risk for HIV, HCV, and Other Harms – Part 1.”  Research Report Round-ups are brief summaries of research reports, presented in a user-friendly format.

Read it below or download the PDF.

Title and link to report: Best Practice Recommendations for Canadian Harm Reduction Programs that Provide Service to People Who Use Drugs and Are at Risk for HIV, HCV, and Other Harms – Part 1

Authors: Penny MacCourt and the Family Caregivers Advisory Committee Mental Health Commission of Canada

Year: 2013

Location: Calgary, Alberta
Language of report: English

What this report is about

This report describes the needs of family caregivers – individuals who care for adult family members living with mental illness in Canada. It describes many of the major concerns and needs of these individuals and makes recommendations for support services and policies to better support the caregiving they provide and lessen the associated challenges. It also proposes an evidence-informed, comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of family caregivers.

Family caregivers who receive the support they need can improve the life of their ill relative. Adequate support can get rid of some of the stressors that often come with caring to an ill adult relative. When such supports are not there, it can jeopardize both their capacity to provide care and their own health and well-being. The unpaid care and support they provide is a major contribution to the health and social service system, and would cost considerably if it had to be replaced with paid formal services.

To provide the best possible care to an adult living with mental illness while sustaining their own well-being, family caregivers usually need:

  • To know that their relative is receiving appropriate care and has access to the services and supports that will maximize their potential for quality of life.
  • To have their relationships and caregiving roles recognized by mental health service providers and to be meaningfully involved in assessment and treatment planning.
  • To receive information and timely support from knowledgeable mental health service providers, including in improving their coping skills, so they can effectively provide care to their relative.
  • To have their personal needs outside of their caregiving role recognized and supported so they can sustain their own health and emotional wellbeing.

The guidelines were developing using a three-part process that included a literature review, input from family caregivers, persons living with mental illness, and service providers, and suggestions from the Family Caregivers Advisory Committee, the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and key stakeholders in different mental health areas.

How can this report be used

System planners, policymakers, and service providers may find this report useful in planning, implementing, and evaluating mental health care services that recognize and address the needs of family caregivers.

Key wordsCaregiving; mental health

Contact person/source:

Mental Health Commission of Canada

110 Quarry Park Blvd SE, Suite 320

Calgary, Alberta, T2C 3G3