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Exploring the Ecology of Canada’s Publicly Funded Residential Long-Term Care Bed Supply*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 December 2014

Saskia N. Sivananthan*
Centre for Health Service and Policy Research, University of British Columbia
Malcolm Doupe
Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba
Margaret J. McGregor
Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia
Correspondence and requests for reprints should be sent to / La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à: Saskia Sivananthan M.Sc., Ph.D.(c) UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research 201-2206 East Mall Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3 (


Despite Canada’s increasing population of seniors and the varying long-term care (LTC) strategies that provinces have implemented, little research has focused on understanding the extent to which publicly funded residential LTC bed supply varies across provinces, or the factors influencing this variation. Our study involved an analysis in which we examined the association of three select jurisdictional characteristics with LTC bed supply: population age demographics, provincial wealth, and provincial investments in home care. No significant cross-jurisdictional “ecology” or inter-relatedness was found between the variation in LTC bed supply and any of the examined variables. Interprovincial variation in bed supply also did not statistically influence alternate level of care days specific to LTC waits, suggesting that these days were not influenced simply by differences in LTC bed supply and that other provincial-level factors were in play.


Malgré l'augmentation de la population des personnes âgées au Canada, et la variation de stratégies de soins de longue durée (SLD) que les provinces ont mis en place, peu de recherches ont porté sur la compréhension de la mesure dans laquelle l'approvisionnement de lits des SLD résidentiels financés par l'État varient parmi les provinces, ou les facteurs influençant cette variation. Notre étude a porté sur une analyse dans laquelle nous avons examiné l'association de trois caractéristiques juridictionnelles sélectionnés avec la fourniture des lits LTC: la démographie de l'âge de la population, les ressources économiques des provinces, et les investissements provinciaux dans les soins à domicile. On n'a pas trouvé de l'écologie interjuridictionelle importante ni d'interrelation entre la variation de l'approvisionne-ment de lits des SLD avec aucune des variables étudiées. La variation entre les provinces pour le disponibilité de lits n'a également pas influencé statistiquement du jour à l'autre le niveau de soins spécifiques pour l'attente des SLD, ce qui suggère que ces jours ne sont pas influencés simplement par des différences dans l'approvisionnement de lits des SLD, et que d'autres facteurs au niveau provincial étaient en jeu.

Copyright © Canadian Association on Gerontology 2014 

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We thank those who provided useful feedback on an earlier version of the study: Hugh Armstrong, Professor Emeritus of Social Work and Political Economy at Carlton University; Martha MacDonald, Professor of Economics at St. Mary’s University; and Evelyn Forget, Professor of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, as part of the Major Collaborative Research Initiative “Re-imagining Long-term Residential Care: An International Study of Promising Practices” with Principal Investigator Pat Armstrong, Professor of Sociology at York University.


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