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Use of physician services by older adults: 1991/1992 to 2000/2001

Use of physician services by older adults: 1991/1992 to 2000/2001

Canadian journal on aging = La revue canadienne du vieillissementCan.J.Aging, Volume 24 Suppl 1, Canada, p.29 - 36 (2005)
Journal Article
Abstract

Canadians have expressed concern that access to family physicians (FP) has declined. Anonymized physician services data for 1991/1992 to 2000/2001 were used to evaluate changes in supply and age-specific rates of use of FPs and specialists in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Physician-to-population ratios declined 7.5 per cent, FP-to-population ratios declined 4.8 per cent, and specialist-to-population ratios declined 10.0 per cent. Among the general population, FP visit rates declined 3 per cent. Among older adults, physician visit rates increased 2.3 per cent, FP visit rates increased 10.9 per cent, and specialist visit rates declined 15.7 per cent. By comparison, we document declines in FP use by those younger than 5 years (25.5%) and those 6 to 19 years of age (18.6%). Increases in FP and declines in specialist use occurred primarily among those aged 65 to 84 years. By 2000/2001 older adults accounted for 25 per cent of all FP encounters. Gains in FP use among older adults was less attributable to the presence of more seniors and more related to the fact that a higher proportion of them are visiting a FP each year and, potentially, substituting primary for secondary care.

Keywords