The proportion of older persons is increasing in developed and developing countries: this aging trend can be viewed as a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it represents remarkable successes regarding advances in health care; and on the other hand, it represents a considerable challenge for health systems to meet growing demand. A growing disequilibrium between supply and demand may be particularly challenging within publicly funding health systems that 'guarantee' services to eligible populations. Rehabilitation, including physical therapy, is a service that if provided in a timely manner, can maximize function and mobility for older persons, which may in turn optimize efficiency and effectiveness of overall health care systems. However, physical therapy services are not considered an insured service under the legislative framework of the Canadian health system, and as such, a complex public/private mix of funding and delivery has emerged. In this article, we explore the consequences of a public/private mix of physical therapy on timely access to services, and use the World Health Organization (WHO) health system performance framework to assess the extent to which the emerging system influences the goal of aggregated and equitable health. Overall, we argue that a shift to a public/private mix may not have positive influences at the population level, and that innovative approaches to deliver services would be desirable to strengthening rather than weaken the publicly funded system. We signal that strategies aimed at scaling up rehabilitation interventions are required in order to improve health outcomes in an evolving global aging society.
As the proportion of older adults increases within the Canadian population, healthcare systems across the country are facing increased demands for home-based services, including home care nursing, rehabilitation, case management, adult day programs, respite, meal programs and home support. Home support is one of the core care services required in the community to enable older adults to remain at home as long as possible. In 2006, Vancouver Community introduced a new home support delivery and performance management model: the Accountability, Responsiveness and Quality for Clients Model of Home Support (ARQ Model) (VCH 2006). The main components of the ARQ Model are an expanded use of "cluster care" along with stable monthly funding for high-density buildings and neighbourhoods; the introduction of specific monthly and quarterly quality performance reporting; and the implementation of performance-based funding for home support. This article discusses the setup of the ARQ model, its ongoing evaluation and results achieved thus far.
To evaluate the effect of medical Primary Integrated Interdisciplinary Elder Care at Home (PIECH) on acute hospital use and mortality in a frail elderly population.
Comparison of acute hospital care use for the year before entering the practice (pre-entry) with the most-recent 12-month period (May 1, 2010-April 30, 2011, postentry) for active and discharged patients.
All 248 frail elderly adults enrolled in the practice for at least 12 months who were living in the community and not in nursing homes in Victoria, British Columbia.
Primary geriatric care provided by a physician, nurse, and physiotherapist in participants' homes.
Acute hospital admissions, emergency department (ED) contacts that did not lead to admission, reason for leaving practice, and site of death.
There was a 39.7% (116 vs 70; P = .004) reduction in hospital admissions, 37.6% (1,700 vs 1,061; P = .04) reduction in hospital days, and 20% (120 vs 95; P = .20) reduction in ED contacts after entering the practice. Fifty participants were discharged from the practice, 64% (n = 32) of whom died, 20% (n = 10) moved, and 16% (n = 8) were admitted to nursing homes. Fifteen (46.9%) deaths occurred at home.
Primary Integrated Interdisciplinary Elder Care at Home may reduce acute hospital admissions and facilitate home deaths.
Expanding community care for elderly persons is a pivotal issue in the reform of long-term care. However, the age and sex of caregivers are important concerns that, unless confronted, will undermine the success of these reforms.