Determinants of access of frail, community-residing older adults to geriatricians in Ontario

TitleDeterminants of access of frail, community-residing older adults to geriatricians in Ontario
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsHogeveen S, Hirdes JP, Heckman G, Keller H
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
ISBN Number0002-8614
Accession Number37143397
KeywordsFrailty, geriatric medicine, InterRAI, long-term home care, outpatient access

Abstract Objectives Little is known about determinants of access to community-based geriatricians. The Geriatric 5Ms™ describe geriatricians' core competencies and inform referrals to specialists for older adults with complex needs. We explored the association of the Geriatric 5Ms™ and other characteristics with outpatient access to geriatricians by home care (HC) clients. Methods This was a population-based, retrospective cohort study of frail community-dwelling HC clients (≥60 years) with complex needs (n = 196,444). Health assessment information was linked to health services data in Ontario, Canada, 2012–2015. Multivariable generalized estimating equations were used to identify characteristics associated with geriatrician contact (≥1 visit in 90 days post-HC admission), including derived Geriatric 5Ms™ score, and predisposing, enabling, and need factors obtained from clinical assessments. Results Only 5.2% of the cohort had outpatient geriatrician contact in Ontario, Canada. Derived Geriatric 5Ms™ score was associated with higher odds of contact, but the model had modest discriminatory power (c-statistic = 0.67). In the broader multivariable model, based on empirically included factors and adjusted for regional differences, age, worsening of decision-making, dementia, hallucinations, Parkinsonism, osteoporosis, and caregiver distress/institutionalization risk were associated with higher odds of geriatrician contact. Female sex, difficulties accessing home, impaired locomotion, recovery potential, hemiplegia/hemiparesis, and cancer, were associated with lower odds of contact. This model had good discriminatory power (c-statistic = 0.77). Conclusions Few frail, community-dwelling older adults receiving HC had any outpatient geriatrician contact. While the derived Geriatric 5Ms™ score was associated with contact, a broader empirical model performed better than the Geriatric 5Ms™ in predicting contact with an outpatient geriatrician. Contact was mainly driven by conditions common in older adults, but evidence suggests that geriatricians are not evaluating the most medically complex and unstable older adults in the community. These findings suggest a need to re-examine the referral process for geriatricians and the allocation of limited specialized resources.


Short TitleJournal of the American Geriatrics Society