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Alternative health care consultations in Ontario, Canada: A geographic and socio-demographic analysis.

Williams AM, Kitchen P, Eby J - BMC Complement Altern Med (2011)

Bottom Line: By contrast, there is a strong association between these consultations and socio-demographic characteristics particularly age, sex, education, health and self-perceived unmet health care needs.The results underscore the importance of women's health needs as related to alternative care use.The paper concludes that there is a need for more place-specific research that explores the reasons why people use specific types of alternative health care as tied to socio-economic status, health, place of residence, and knowledge of these treatments.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

ABSTRACT

Background: An important but understudied component of Canada's health system is alternative care. The objective of this paper is to examine the geographic and socio-demographic characteristics of alternative care consultation in Ontario, Canada's largest province.

Methods: Data is drawn from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS Cycle 3.1, 2005) for people aged 18 or over (n = 32,598) who had a consultation with an alternative health care provider. Four groups of consultations are examined: (1) all consultations (2) massage therapy (3) acupuncture, and (4) homeopath/naturopath. Descriptive statistics, mapping and logistic regression modeling are employed to analyze the data and to compare modalities of alternative health care use.

Results: In 2005, more than 1.2 million adults aged 18 or over consulted an alternative health care provider, representing about 13% of the total population of Ontario. The analysis revealed a varied geographic pattern of consultations across the province. Consultations were fairly even across the urban to rural continuum and rural residents were just as likely to consult a provider as their urban counterparts. From a health perspective, people with a chronic condition, lower health status and self-perceived unmet health care needs were more likely to see an alternative health provider. Women with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue syndrome and chemical sensitivities were more likely to see an alternative provider if they felt their health care needs were not being met.

Conclusions: The analysis revealed that geography is not a factor in determining alternative health care consultations in Ontario. By contrast, there is a strong association between these consultations and socio-demographic characteristics particularly age, sex, education, health and self-perceived unmet health care needs. The results underscore the importance of women's health needs as related to alternative care use. The paper concludes that there is a need for more place-specific research that explores the reasons why people use specific types of alternative health care as tied to socio-economic status, health, place of residence, and knowledge of these treatments.

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Map of alternative health care provider consultations in Ontario, 2005.
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Figure 1: Map of alternative health care provider consultations in Ontario, 2005.

Mentions: The analysis of the CCHS data reveals a variable geographic pattern of alternative health care consultations. Figure 1 utilizes Ontario's Public Health Units to demonstrate spatial variations across the province. It is important to point out that Ontario's 36 Public Health Units are not involved in the organization, management or delivery of alternative care, which is largely self-governed. They are used here to convey broad geographic patterns of alternative care use in the province. Figure 1 shows a clustering of PHUs in central, southern and southwestern Ontario; all of these PHUs had the highest proportion of alternative care consultations across the province (all above 15% of the total population 18 or over in each PHU). Three of these are within the heavily populated Greater Toronto Area (GTA): Halton (16.4%), York (15.7%) and Durham (15.4%). The lowest rates of alternative health care consultations were apparent in the large, rural and remote PHUs in the eastern and northern parts of the province. These include, in the east: Eastern Ontario (9.3%), Renfrew (8.7%), Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington (7.7%) and Hastings and Prince Edward Counties (6.8%), and, in the north: Northwestern (10.4%) and Timiskaming (6.5%).


Alternative health care consultations in Ontario, Canada: A geographic and socio-demographic analysis.

Williams AM, Kitchen P, Eby J - BMC Complement Altern Med (2011)

Map of alternative health care provider consultations in Ontario, 2005.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3141599&req=5

Figure 1: Map of alternative health care provider consultations in Ontario, 2005.
Mentions: The analysis of the CCHS data reveals a variable geographic pattern of alternative health care consultations. Figure 1 utilizes Ontario's Public Health Units to demonstrate spatial variations across the province. It is important to point out that Ontario's 36 Public Health Units are not involved in the organization, management or delivery of alternative care, which is largely self-governed. They are used here to convey broad geographic patterns of alternative care use in the province. Figure 1 shows a clustering of PHUs in central, southern and southwestern Ontario; all of these PHUs had the highest proportion of alternative care consultations across the province (all above 15% of the total population 18 or over in each PHU). Three of these are within the heavily populated Greater Toronto Area (GTA): Halton (16.4%), York (15.7%) and Durham (15.4%). The lowest rates of alternative health care consultations were apparent in the large, rural and remote PHUs in the eastern and northern parts of the province. These include, in the east: Eastern Ontario (9.3%), Renfrew (8.7%), Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington (7.7%) and Hastings and Prince Edward Counties (6.8%), and, in the north: Northwestern (10.4%) and Timiskaming (6.5%).

Bottom Line: By contrast, there is a strong association between these consultations and socio-demographic characteristics particularly age, sex, education, health and self-perceived unmet health care needs.The results underscore the importance of women's health needs as related to alternative care use.The paper concludes that there is a need for more place-specific research that explores the reasons why people use specific types of alternative health care as tied to socio-economic status, health, place of residence, and knowledge of these treatments.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

ABSTRACT

Background: An important but understudied component of Canada's health system is alternative care. The objective of this paper is to examine the geographic and socio-demographic characteristics of alternative care consultation in Ontario, Canada's largest province.

Methods: Data is drawn from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS Cycle 3.1, 2005) for people aged 18 or over (n = 32,598) who had a consultation with an alternative health care provider. Four groups of consultations are examined: (1) all consultations (2) massage therapy (3) acupuncture, and (4) homeopath/naturopath. Descriptive statistics, mapping and logistic regression modeling are employed to analyze the data and to compare modalities of alternative health care use.

Results: In 2005, more than 1.2 million adults aged 18 or over consulted an alternative health care provider, representing about 13% of the total population of Ontario. The analysis revealed a varied geographic pattern of consultations across the province. Consultations were fairly even across the urban to rural continuum and rural residents were just as likely to consult a provider as their urban counterparts. From a health perspective, people with a chronic condition, lower health status and self-perceived unmet health care needs were more likely to see an alternative health provider. Women with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue syndrome and chemical sensitivities were more likely to see an alternative provider if they felt their health care needs were not being met.

Conclusions: The analysis revealed that geography is not a factor in determining alternative health care consultations in Ontario. By contrast, there is a strong association between these consultations and socio-demographic characteristics particularly age, sex, education, health and self-perceived unmet health care needs. The results underscore the importance of women's health needs as related to alternative care use. The paper concludes that there is a need for more place-specific research that explores the reasons why people use specific types of alternative health care as tied to socio-economic status, health, place of residence, and knowledge of these treatments.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus