Government home care spending reaches $3.4 billion in 2003–2004: CIHI

CIHI study is the first of its kind to look at government spending on home care

March 22, 2007 – Government spending on home care grew from $1.6 billion in 1994–1995 to $3.4 billion in 2003–2004, an average annual growth of 9.2%, according to a new report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). In comparison, over the same time period, total government health spending increased by an average of 5.7% per year. Public-Sector Expenditures and Utilization of Home Care Services in Canada: Exploring the Data is CIHI’s first comprehensive report on public-sector spending on home care services—a combination of health care and support services provided in the home instead of in an institutional setting.

Between 1994–1995 and 2003–2004, government home care spending per person increased on average by 6.1% per year after adjusting for inflation, while total government health spending per person increased by 2.7% per year. Home care spending represented 4.0% of total government health spending in 2003–2004.

The number of patients using government-subsidized home care increased from 23.9 per 1,000 in 1994–1995 to 26.1 per 1,000 in 2003–2004, representing an average annual increase of 1.0%. Over the study period, spending on home care increased faster than the number of patients did, suggesting that in general, home care users each consumed more resources in 2003 than they did a decade previously.

Provincial and territorial variations in spending on home care

In 2003–2004, provincial and territorial government spending on home care averaged $105.30 per person. “Spending on home care varies from one province to the next,” says Jean-Marie Berthelot, Vice President, Programs, at CIHI. “This can be the result of many factors, including the level of service offered by each individual home care program and the needs of the population within each province.”

Home health versus home support

This report breaks home care into two components. The first—home health—includes professional services such as nursing care. The second—home support—includes other services, such as personal care, housework, meals, shopping and respite care.

Government spending on both home health services and home support services increased; in 2003–2004, per capita spending was $56.95 for home health and $60.10 for home support (up from $32.41 for home health and $41.95 for home support in 1995–1996). Professional home health services accounted for an increasing share of spending on home care services, rising from 43.3% in 1995–1996 to 48.6% in 2003–2004.

About CIHI

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) collects and analyzes information on health and health care in Canada and makes it publicly available. Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments created CIHI as a not-for-profit, independent organization dedicated to forging a common approach to Canadian health information. CIHI’s goal: to provide timely, accurate and comparable information. CIHI’s data and reports inform health policies, support the effective delivery of health services and raise awareness among Canadians of the factors that contribute to good health.