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Socio-spatial patterns of home care use in Ontario, Canada: A case study

TitleSocio-spatial patterns of home care use in Ontario, Canada: A case study
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsKitchen, P., Williams A., Pong R. W., and Wilson D.
JournalHealth and Place
Pages195 - 206
Keywordsformal and informal care, health disparities, home care, urban-rural continuum

Home care is the fastest growing segment of Canada's health care system. Since the mid-1990s, the management and delivery of home care has changed dramatically in the province of Ontario. The objective of this paper is to examine the socio-spatial characteristics of home care use (both formal and informal) in Ontario among residents aged 20 and over. Data are drawn from two cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS Cycle 3.1 2005 and Cycle 4.1 2007) and are analyzed at a number of geographical scales and across the urban to rural continuum. The study found that rural residents were more likely than their urban counterparts to receive government-funded home care, particularly nursing care services. However, rural residents were less likely to receive nursing care that was self-financed through for-profit agencies and were more reliant on informal care provided by a family member. The study also revealed that women and seniors were far more dependent on services that they paid for as compared to informal services. People with lower incomes and poorer health status, as well as rural residents, were also more likely to use informal services. The paper postulates that the introduction of managed competition in Ontario's home care sector may be effective in more populated parts of the province, including large cities, but at the same time may have left a void in access to for-profit formal services in rural and remote regions.

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