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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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Percentage of women reporting unmet health care needs consulting an alternative health care provider, by chronic condition.
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Figure 3: Percentage of women reporting unmet health care needs consulting an alternative health care provider, by chronic condition.

Mentions: Figure 2 shows the relationship between alternative health care consultations (for both men and women in Ontario) and self-perceived unmet health care needs. It indicates that people who reported unmet health care needs (22%) were nearly twice as likely to see an alternative health care provider as those who said they had no unmet health needs (12%). This analysis is taken a step further in Figure 3, which displays the proportion of women suffering from one of four chronic medical conditions who consulted an alternative provider according to their perceptions of unmet health care needs. The data reveals a statistically significant association between this perception and alternative health care consultation. For instance, 38% of women in Ontario who have fibromyalgia and who felt they had unmet health care needs consulted an alternative provider compared to 27% of women with the same condition who reported no unmet health care needs. As shown in Figure 2, this trend is also evident for women with high blood pressure, chronic fatigue syndrome and chemical sensitivities. These results suggest that many women in Ontario feel that their health care needs are not being adequately met within the traditional medical system, particularly as related to the chronic conditions that affect women more than men.


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

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

Percentage of women reporting unmet health care needs consulting an alternative health care provider, by chronic condition.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 3: Percentage of women reporting unmet health care needs consulting an alternative health care provider, by chronic condition.
Mentions: Figure 2 shows the relationship between alternative health care consultations (for both men and women in Ontario) and self-perceived unmet health care needs. It indicates that people who reported unmet health care needs (22%) were nearly twice as likely to see an alternative health care provider as those who said they had no unmet health needs (12%). This analysis is taken a step further in Figure 3, which displays the proportion of women suffering from one of four chronic medical conditions who consulted an alternative provider according to their perceptions of unmet health care needs. The data reveals a statistically significant association between this perception and alternative health care consultation. For instance, 38% of women in Ontario who have fibromyalgia and who felt they had unmet health care needs consulted an alternative provider compared to 27% of women with the same condition who reported no unmet health care needs. As shown in Figure 2, this trend is also evident for women with high blood pressure, chronic fatigue syndrome and chemical sensitivities. These results suggest that many women in Ontario feel that their health care needs are not being adequately met within the traditional medical system, particularly as related to the chronic conditions that affect women more than men.

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