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How often, where, and by which specialty do long-term care home residents receive specialist physician care? A retrospective cohort study

Shaver NS, Lapenski J, Smith GA, Hsu AT, Liddy C, Tanuseputro P. J Appl Gerontol. 2020; Feb 6 [Epub ahead of print]. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0733464819901255


This retrospective cohort study describes the rates, location, and determinants of specialist physician visits among 257,216 long-term care (LTC) residents across 648 LTC homes in Ontario, Canada, between 2007 and 2016. Visit rates in the last year of life were calculated for a sub-cohort of residents who died in LTC between 2013 and 2016. Visits were measured per resident-year using physician billings. Over 10 years, the rate of visits to specialists outside the LTC home was consistently higher than within LTC (2.99 vs. 1.55 visits/resident-year). Residents were less likely to receive specialist care if they were older, had dementia, or lived in urban LTC homes. From 12 months before death to the last week of life, rates of specialist visits increased by 246% and 56% inside and outside of LTC, respectively. Improving access to physician specialist care in LTC homes may reduce burdensome transitions and improve resident quality of life.

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