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Quality and safety in long-term care in Ontario: the impact of language discordance


Objectives — This study compared quality indicators across linguistic groups and sought to determine whether disparities are influenced by resident-facility language discordance in long-term care.

Design — Population-based retrospective cohort study using linked databases.

Setting and Participants — Retrospective cohort of newly admitted residents of long-term care facilities in Ontario, Canada, between 2010 and 2016 (N=47,727). Individual residents' information was obtained from the Resident Assessment Instrument Minimum Data Set (RAI-MDS) to determine resident's primary language, clinical characteristics, and healthcare indicators.

Measures — Main covariates of interest were primary language of the resident and predominant language of the long-term care facility, which was determined using the French designation status as defined in the French Language Services Act. Primary outcomes were a set of quality and safety indicators related to long-term care: worsening of depression, falls, moderate-severe pain, use of antipsychotic medication, and physical restraints. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess the impact of resident's primary language, facility language, and resident-facility language discordance on each quality indicator.

Results — Overall, there were few differences between francophones and anglophones for quality and safety indicators. Francophones were more likely to report pain (10.9% vs 9.9%; P = .001) and be physically restrained (7.3% vs 5.2%; P < .001), whereas a greater proportion of anglophones experienced worsening of depressive symptoms (24.0% vs 22.9%; P = .001). However, quality indicators were generally worse for francophones in Non-Designated facilities, except for pain, which was more commonly reported by francophones in French-Designated facilities. Anglophones were more likely to be physically restrained in French-Designated facilities (6.7% vs 5.1%; P < .001).

Conclusions and Implications — For francophones, quality indicators tended to be worse in the presence of resident-facility language discordance. However, these findings did not persist after adjusting for individual- and facility-level characteristics, suggesting that the disparities observed at the population level cannot be attributed to linguistic factors alone.



Batista R, Prud’homme D, Rhodes E, Hsu A, Talarico R, Reaume M, Guérin E, Bouchard L, Desaulniers J, Manuel D, P Tanuseputro. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2021; 22(10):2147-53.e3. Epub 2021 Jan 9.

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