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Research Note: Describing Canada's Residential Continuing Care Population through an Analysis of a National Mortality Dataset and a Provincial Hospital Dataset*

  • Donna M. Wilson (a1) and Corrine D. Truman (a2)


While there are 157,000 designated continuing care (CC) beds in Canada – beds that are only used by a rather distinct group of individuals – no comprehensive description of the CC resident population exists. An analysis of 1974–1997 Statistics Canada mortality data and 1992/93–1996/97 Alberta hospital utilization data was undertaken to provide a description of one segment of this population, those at the end of life. Statistics Canada data indicate that only a small (<3%) proportion of deaths take place each year in CC facilities, with these persons 84.5 years of age on average, and most often female (62.5%), widowed (61.9%), and Canadian born (61.8%). The primary cause of death/diagnosis varied considerably, as it did for CC residents in Alberta who were transferred to acute care hospitals before dying there. The average hospital stay for transferred persons was 14.0 days in length, with these hospitalizations normally characterized by few diagnostic tests or treatments (mean=0.9).

Quoique l'on retrouve 157000 lits de soins permanents au Canada, et que ces lits soient utilisés pour un groupe précis d'individus, il n'y a aucune vue d'ensemble de cette population. Une analyse des données de mortalité de Statistique Canada datant de 1974 à 1997, en plus des données de l'utilisation d'hôpitaux de l'Alberta datant de 1992–1993 à 1996–1997 a été entreprise afin de fournir une description d'une partie de cette population, soit ceux à la fin de la vie. Les données de Statistique Canada démontrent que seulement une faible proportion (<3%) de décés surviennent chaque année dans les installations de soins permanents, et ce à des personnes d'âge moyenne de 84,5 ans, souvent de sexe féminin (62,5%), veuves (61,9%) et nées au Canada (61,8%). La cause premiére du décés/diagnostic varie considérablement, de même pour les résidents de l'Alberta qui ont été transférés à des hôpitaux de soins intensifs où ils sont subséquemment décédés. La durée moyenne du séjour des personnes transférées était de 14,0 jours; ces séjours étaient caractérisés de trés peu d'examens diagnostics ou de traitements (médiane=0,9).


Corresponding author

Requests for offprints should be sent to: / Les demandes de tirés-a-part doivent être adressées à: Donna M. Wilson, RN, PhD, Faculty of Nursing, Third Floor Clinical Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2G3.


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This study is based in part on data provided by Alberta Health and Wellness. The interpretation and conclusions contained herein are those of the researchers and do not necessarily represent the view of the Government of Alberta. Neither the Government nor Alberta Health and Wellness expresses any opinion in relation to this study.



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