Is Dementia Related to a Longer Wait Time to be Assigned a New Primary Care Provider? An Analysis of the Nova Scotia Need a Family Practice Registry Derived from the PUPPY-Study
Keywords:dementia, geriatrics, primary health care, waiting list, frail, elderly
Access to Primary Care Providers (PCPs) is limited for many Canadians. “Unattached patients” are persons who do not have a PCP. Older adults living with dementia may face greater challenges seeking attachment. This study investigated whether older adults living with dementia experience differential wait times for PCPs compared to those without a diagnosis of dementia.
This was an observational descriptive study of the centralized wait-list data from the Nova Scotia (NS) Need a Family Practice Registry (NaFPR). Time on provider wait-list by dementia diagnosis and age were compared. Number of days on the registry across these measures was estimated. Multivariable proportional hazards regression was used to compare hazards of remaining on the registry over time.
Unattached older adults living with dementia were on the NaFPR for less time compared to those without dementia (381.4 vs. 428.8 days, respectively). After adjusting for age, self-reported gender, comorbidity, rurality, income quintiles, and overall deprivation, older adults with dementia had a 1.13-fold (95% CI: 1.04-1.24) increase in the likelihood of leaving the NaFPR. Potential contributors to this small difference could be placement in Long Term Care (LTC) and subsequent facility PCP attachment.
Analysis of the NaFPR exhibited similarly time to PCP attachment despite a diagnosis of dementia. This represented an effective equality model of health care utilized in NS. Future studies should investigate whether an equity model with priority attachment for vulnerable patients would reduce hospitalization and LTC institutionalization.
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