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Does for-profit status make a difference between life and death in long-term care?

October 27, 2015
by Nicole Stempak, Associate Editor
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Elderly Canadians living in private-pay long-term care (LTC) facilities are more likely to die within six months than those living in non-profit facilities. Canada's national health system pays for non-profit senior care, but privarte pay is an option.

A recent study by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) found for-profit LTC facilities have a 16 percent higher death rate within six months of arrival and a 36 percent higher hospitalization rate. A year after admission, residents in for-profit facilities had an adjusted 10 percent higher mortality risk and25 percent higher hospitalization rate.

Researchers published their study “Hospitalization and Mortality Rates in Long-Term Care Facilities: Does For-Profit Status Matter?” in The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (JAMDA), the latest to find residents in for-profit homes have higher mortality and hospitalization rates.

"Those are not trivial numbers,” says lead author Peter Tanuseputro, MD, MHSC, to CTVNews. “If there's a way that we can get to the bottom of this and correct it, we could potentially be preventing many, many hospitalizations and potentially many deaths."

Researchers conducted a retrospective study of new admissions at 384 for-profit and 256 not-for-profit publicly funded LTC facilities in Ontario, Canada. They analyzed nearly 54,000 incident admissions into the facilities between Jan. 1, 2010, and March 1, 2012.

Residents had significant limitations in cognition and performing activities of daily living. The majority, 64.9 percent, were women and more than 80 years old, 68.3 percent. Nearly 56 percent of residents had dementia when admitted.

More than half of facilities in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom are managed by for-profit institutions.

Read the full study here.

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