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Caregiver Out-of-Pocket Costs for Octogenarian Intensive Care Unit Patients in Canada

  • Randy D. Boyes (a1) (a2), Iwona A. Bielska (a1), Raymond Fong (a1) (a3) and Ana P. Johnson (a1)


Medical issues facing the aging population are of growing concern with consequences for patients and their caregivers. This study determined the indirect and out-of-pocket costs incurred by the caregivers of elderly patients in Canadian Intensive Care Units (ICUs). Primary family caregivers were surveyed capturing out-of-pocket costs, hours of work, and hours of leisure forgone in providing patient care while the patient was in the ICU. Total costs of care per month were reported across caregiver sex, age, and geographic region. Average out-of-pocket costs were $791 (2016 Canadian dollars) in the first month of ICU care. The mean total cost to family caregivers per patient was $162 per day. Male primary caregivers had higher mean out-of-pocket costs than female caregivers. Subsidization programs covering expenses such as travel, meals, accommodation, and parking are needed to support family caregivers of elderly ICU patients who are incurring considerable out-of-pocket costs.

Les problèmes médicaux affectant la population vieillissante sont de plus en plus préoccupants et ont des impacts sur les patients et leurs soignants familiaux. Cette étude a permis de déterminer les coûts directs et indirects encourus par les soignants familiaux de personnes âgées hospitalisées en unités de soins intensifs (USI) au Canada. Les soignants familiaux de patients hospitalisés en USI ont répondu à un sondage portant à la fois sur les coûts directs qu’ils assumaient pour les soins de ces patients et sur les coûts indirects, tels que les heures de travail et de loisirs perdues lors de la prestation de ces soins. Les coûts totaux mensuels des soins ont été stratifiés selon le sexe, l’âge et la région géographique du soignant. La moyenne des coûts directs pour les soignants était de 791 $ ($CA en 2016) par patient au cours du premier mois de soins intensifs. Le coût total quotidien moyen par patient était de 162 $ par jour pour ces soignants. Les hommes ayant le rôle de soignant principal ont payé davantage de frais que les femmes. Des programmes de subvention seraient nécessaires pour aider les soignants familiaux à couvrir les frais considérables liés aux soins qu’ils apportent à des patients en USI, en incluant aussi les frais de déplacements, de repas, d’hébergement et de stationnement.


Corresponding author

La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à : / Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to: Ana P. Johnson, Ph.D. Department of Public Health Sciences Queen’s University Abramsky Hall, Room 311 Kingston, ON K7L 3N6 (


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We thank the Canadian Institutes for Health Research for their financial support and Daren Heyland for facilitating access to data collected as part of the Realistic 80 study, as well as Andrew Day for his assistance with data analysis. The Realistic 80 study was made possible by financial support provided by a Canadian Institute of Health Research Grant (Funding Reference Number: 93610) awarded to Daren Heyland.



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