This study provides a comprehensive summary of the sociodemographic, psychosocial and health characteristics of a large population-based cohort of Ontario home care clients (aged 50 years and over) with dementia and examines the variation in these characteristics in those with co-existing neurological conditions.
Clients were assessed with the Resident Assessment Instrument-Home Care (RAI-HC) between January 2003 and December 2010. Descriptive analyses examined the distribution of these characteristics among clients with dementia relative to several comparison groups, as well as clients with other recorded neurological conditions.
Approximately 22% of clients (n = 104 802) had a diagnosis of dementia (average age 83 years, 64% female) and about one in four within this group had a co-existing neurological condition (most commonly stroke or Parkinson disease). About 43% of those with dementia did not live with their primary caregiver. Relative to several comparison groups, clients with dementia showed considerably higher levels of cognitive and functional impairment, aggression, anxiety, wandering, hallucinations/delusions, caregiver distress and a greater risk for institutionalization. Conversely, they showed a lower prevalence of several chronic conditions and lower levels of recent health service use. Depressive symptoms were relatively common in the dementia and other neurological groups.
Clients with co-existing neurological conditions exhibited unique clinical profiles illustrating the need for tailored and flexible home care services and enhanced caregiver assistance programs.