Seniors receive about one third of all medical services, new study shows
Canada’s population is aging and patient demographics are beginning to reflect this unprecedented shift. From waiting list woes to long-term care solutions, the conversation around health care for seniors has been dominating discussion on the future of health care in the country.
But how are medical specialists currently caring for older patients? Data has been sparse, until now.
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada has just released the most comprehensive report to date on physician care for seniors: Health Care for an Aging Population: A Study of how Physicians Care for Seniors in Canada [PDF].
Findings reveal that although seniors comprise only 16 per cent of the population, they receive about one-third of the total number of medical services. Care is dominated by seven speciality groups: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Ophthalmology, General Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Urology and Dermatology. Geriatricians, who specialise in seniors’ care, account for less than 1 per cent of all medical services provided to this group.
“Seniors will continue to be a growing part of Canada’s population and we have good data to show how physicians make unique contributions in caring for them,” says Steve Slade, director of Health Policy and Advocacy at the Royal College.
“We’ve been talking about the grey tsunami for years. It’s time to now harness this data to better direct resources, so that we can continue to support seniors in living longer, healthier lives.”
This report analyzed data on all fee-for-service care provided to patients aged 65 and older from the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s National Physician Database.