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Use of Hospitals by Older versus Younger Canadians: Myths and Misconceptions

  • Donna M. Wilson (a1), Ye Shen (a2) and Gail Low (a1)

Abstract

This study investigated concerns regarding the extensive use of hospitals by older people and subsequent long wait lists. We analysed complete individual-anonymous, 2014–2015 inpatient hospital data for all Canadian provinces and territories (except Quebec). People aged 65 and older accounted for 37.0 per cent of all hospital episodes and 41.5 per cent of all admissions to intensive or coronary care units. Similarly, of all admitted individuals, 32.8 per cent were older. The data also revealed only 14.3 per cent of older Canadians living outside of Quebec were admitted to hospital one or more times that year. This study indicates that issues other than hospital use by older people should be addressed in Canada for improved hospital accessibility. Improved care of older persons is also indicated, as their higher risk of hospital admission, longer hospital stays, and dying in hospital could be from a lack of age-informed hospital and community services.

Afin de mieux répondre aux préoccupations concernant l’utilisation intensive des hôpitaux par les personnes âgées et l’augmentation subséquente des listes d’attente et de l’attente dans les services de santé hospitaliers au Canada, les données anonymes individuelles des patients hospitalisés en 2014-2015 dans toutes les provinces et territoires (sauf le Québec) ont été analysées. Les personnes de plus de 65 ans composaient 37 % de tous les épisodes de consultation hospitalière et 41,5 % des admissions en soins spéciaux (unités de soins intensifs ou coronariens). De tous les individus admis, 32,8 % étaient des personnes âgées. Les données montrent aussi que seulement 14,3 % des aînés canadiens vivant à l’extérieur du Québec ont été admis à l’hôpital une ou plusieurs fois cette année. Cette étude indique que des problématiques qui ne sont pas liées à l’utilisation des hôpitaux par les personnes âgées devraient être prises en compte en priorité au Canada pour améliorer l’accessibilité aux soins hospitaliers. L’amélioration des soins aux personnes âgées est aussi indiquée, considérant le risque plus élevé d’admission ou de mort à l’hôpital, et leurs séjours plus longs en milieu hospitalier, qui pourraient être expliqués par un manque de services hospitaliers et communautaires adaptés aux aînés.

Copyright

Corresponding author

La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à : / Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to: Donna M. Wilson, Ph.D., RN Professor, Faculty of Nursing Level 3, Edmonton Clinic Health Academy 11405-87 Avenue University of Alberta Edmonton, AB T6G 1C9 <donna.wilson@ualberta.ca>

Footnotes

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This research study was funded by a Law Commission of Ontario research grant. We appreciate Stephen Birch for his help in obtaining that grant. The authors declare no financial or ethical conflicts of interest.

Footnotes

References

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Use of Hospitals by Older versus Younger Canadians: Myths and Misconceptions

  • Donna M. Wilson (a1), Ye Shen (a2) and Gail Low (a1)

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