The Canadian Institute of Health Information, a federal agency that focuses on health statistics just released a survey on healthcare in older Canadians. The report was in conjunction with the Commonwealth Fund, a not for profit think tank based in the USA.
The first thing I have to object to is that anyone who is over 55 was classified as older. None of us thinks we are as old as we are. In fact most people over 25 think they are really about 20% younger than they are. But on the cusp of my 68th birthday, I don’t feel a day over 45. However, I do relish the senior rate on the bus and at the movies.
The nice thing about the CIHI survey was that it compared each province with the average of other developed countries. One of the problems is that the sample size for each province was quite small, Nova Scotia only had 258 responses. The response rate was only 28%.
So how did we do? Most older Canadians (96%) had a regular doctor they went to for healthcare. But Canadians in every province had a longer wait time for primary and specialist care than other developed countries .
Canadians also have a hard time getting after hours care without going to the Emergency Department.
As a result, almost 40% of Canadians went to an Emergency Department for something that could be treated at a family doctor. As well, Canadians wait more than any other country for specialists. 25% of older Canadians waited more than 2 months for a specialist. This has not improved over time.
But most Canadians report positives about their doctors.
I was pleased to see that the Maritimes did a bit better than most in continuity of care.
Canadian’s talk to their doctors about life issues
Finally, lets look at what Canadians over 55 think about their health and our health system.
What do you think? Let me know.
~Dr. Patrick McGrath