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Prevalence and patterns of multimorbidity among linguistic groups of patients receiving home care in Ontario: a retrospective cohort study


Background — Prior studies have demonstrated the negative impact of language barriers on access, quality, and safety of healthcare, which can lead to health disparities in linguistic minorities. As the population ages, those with multiple chronic diseases will require increasing levels of home care and long-term services. This study described the levels of multimorbidity among recipients of home care in Ontario, Canada by linguistic group.

Methods — Population-based retrospective cohort of 510,685 adults receiving home care between April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2018, in Ontario, Canada. We estimated and compared prevalence and characteristics of multimorbidity (2 or more chronic diseases) across linguistic groups (Francophones, Anglophones, Allophones). The most common combinations and clustering of chronic diseases were examined. Logistic regression models were used to explore the main predictors of ‘severe’ multimorbidity (defined as the presence of five or more chronic diseases).

Results — The proportion of home care recipients with multimorbidity and severe multimorbidity was 92% and 44%, respectively. The prevalence of multimorbidity was slightly higher among Allophones (93.6%) than among Anglophones (91.8%) and Francophones (92.4%). However, Francophones had higher rates of cardiovascular and respiratory disease (64.9%) when compared to Anglophones (60.2%) and Allophones (61.5%), while Anglophones had higher rates of cancer (34.2%) when compared to Francophones (25.2%) and Allophones (24.3%). Relative to Anglophones, Allophones were more likely to have severe multimorbidity (adjusted OR = 1.04, [95% CI: 1.02–1.06]).

Conclusions — The prevalence of multimorbidity among Ontarians receiving home care services is high; especially for whose primary language is a language other than English or French (i.e., Allophones). Understanding differences in the prevalence and characteristics of multimorbidity across linguistic groups will help tailor healthcare services to the unique needs of patients living in minority linguistic situations.



Batista R, Reaume M, Roberts R, Seale E, Rhodes E, Sucha E, Pugliese M, Kendall CE, Bjerre LM, Bouchard L, Prud’homme D, Manuel DG, Tanuseputro P. BMC Geriatr. 2023; 23(1):725. Epub 2023 Nov 9.

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