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Dementia in Ontario: Prevalence and Health Services Utilization*

  • J.E. Tranmer (a1), R. Croxford (a2) (a3) and P.C. Coyte (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) (a5)


To understand the impact of ongoing reform of mental health and dementia care in Ontario, an examination of prevalence and health services utilization rates is needed. However, there exists a gap in current prevalence and health services research specific to dementia care in Ontario. The objective of this study was to address these concerns using linked administrative databases to determine the incremental use of health services by elderly Ontarians with dementia. Overall, study results demonstrated that individuals with dementia used services in a pattern similar to non-demented persons, albeit at a higher level. Exceptions were women's use of hospital and home care services, where the most elderly women received significantly fewer services. Thus, the study provided important insight regarding the relative levels of health services used by demented Ontarians. Research in this area will become increasingly important as the population ages and the settings integral to dementia care and management shift and evolve.

Pour comprendre l'importance de la réforme permanente des services de santé mentale et des soins aux personnes atteintes de démence en Ontario, il faut mettre en parallèle la prévalence de la maladie et les taux d'utilisation des services de santé. Le nombre de travaux de recherche consacrés à la démence en Ontario est insuffisant en regard de la prévalence. Pour pallier cette lacune, nous avons utilisé des bases de données administratives apparentées pour tracer la courbe de consommation des services de santé chez les aînés ontariens atteints de démence. Globalement, les conclusions de l'étude révèlent que les personnes atteintes de démence utilisent les services comme les autres patients, bien que de façon plus intensive. Par contre, on note de grands écarts sur le plan de la consommation des services en établissement et à domicile par les femmes ; les aînées les plus âgées recevant, en effet, beaucoup moins de services. L'étude jette un éclairage intéressant sur les niveaux relatifs de consommation des services de santé par les Ontariens atteints de démence. Ce type de recherche sera de plus en plus important compte tenu du vieillissement de la population et de l'évolution des milieux de soins et de gestion de la démence.


Corresponding author

Requests for offprints should be sent to: / Les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être addressées à : Peter C. Coyte, Ph.D., Department of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, McMurrich Building, 2nd Floor, 12 Queen's Park Crescent, Toronto, ON M5S 1A8, Tel.: (416) 978-8369, Fax: (416) 978-7350. (


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This article was presented to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) at the Expert Meeting on Dementia in Paris, November 2002. The authors would like to thank the OECD for funding and the meeting participants for their comments. We would also like to acknowledge input from P. Rochon, K. Sykora, P. Goering, and C. Dewa. The article was presented as a paper at the International Health Economics Association World Congress, San Francisco, CA, 2003. The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Studies is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The opinions, results, and conclusions that follow are those of the authors, and no endorsement by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care or by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences is intended or should be inferred.



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