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Health Care Services Use in Assisted Living: A Time Series Analysis*

  • Kimberlyn M. McGrail (a1) (a2), Meredith B. Lilly (a1), Margaret J. McGregor (a1) (a3), Anne-Marie Broemeling (a1) (a4), Kia Salomons (a1), Sandra Peterson (a1), Rachael McKendry (a1) and Morris L. Barer (a1) (a2)...


This article describes British Columbia’s regulatory model for assisted living and used time series analysis to examine individuals’ use of health care services before and after moving to assisted living. The 4,219 assisted living residents studied were older and predominantly female, with 73 per cent having one or more major chronic conditions. Use of health care services tended to increase before the move to assisted living, drop at the time of the move (most notably for general practitioners, medical specialists, and acute care), and remain low for the 12-month follow-up period. These apparent positive effects are not trivial; the cohort of 1,894 assisted living residents used 18,000 fewer acute care days in the year after, compared to the year before, their move. Future research should address whether and how assisted living affects longer-term pathways of care for older adults and ultimately their function and quality of life.

Cet article décrit le modèle réglementaire de la Colombie-Britannique pour l’aide à la vie autonome et était basée sur une analyse des séries chronologiques qui a examiné l’utilisation individuelle des services de soins de santé avant et après leur arrivée en résidence-services. Les 4 219 résidents étudiés dans résidences assistées étaient vieilles et surtout des femmes, 73 pour cent d’entre eux ayant une ou plusieurs principales maladies chroniques. L’utilisation des services de soins de santé a eu la tendance à augmenter avant le passage à la vie autonome, de diminuer au moment du déménagement (notamment pour les médecins généralistes, les médecins spécialistes, et les soins actifs), et de rester faible au cours des 12 mois de la période suivie. Ces effets positifs apparents ne sont pas insignifiantes; la cohorte de 1 894 résidents de la vie assistée utilisaient moins de 18 000 jours de soins actifs dans l’année après, par rapport à l’année précédente, de leur déménagement. La recherche dans l’avenir devrait examiner si et comment aide à la vie autonome affecte à long terme les voies de soins de santé pour les personnes âgées et, finalement, comment leur fonction et la qualité de la vie sont touchés.


Corresponding author

Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to / La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à: Kimberlyn M. McGrail, Ph.D. Centre for Health Services and Policy Research 201-2206 East Mall Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3 (


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Funding and access to data for this project were provided by the British Columbia Ministry of Health. We are grateful to our colleagues at the Ministry, the Provincial Home and Community Care Council, the Council’s Standing Committee on Assisted Living, and others who provided thoughtful comments on the research as it progressed. Thanks as well to the reviewers whose careful reviews helped to improve the article. Any errors remain the responsibility of the authors.



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