Variations in long-term care home resident hospitalizations before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Objectives To examine how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the demographic and clinical characteristics, in-hospital care, and outcomes of long-term care residents admitted to general medicine wards for non-COVID-19 reasons. Methods We conducted a retrospective cohort study of long-term care residents admitted to general medicine wards, for reasons other than COVID-19, in four hospitals in Toronto, Ontario between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2020. We used an autoregressive linear model to estimate the change in monthly admission volumes during the pandemic period (March-December 2020) compared to the previous two years, adjusting for any secular trend. We summarized and compared differences in the demographics, comorbidities, interventions, diagnoses, imaging, psychoactive medications, and outcomes of residents before and during the pandemic. Results Our study included 2,654 long-term care residents who were hospitalized for non-COVID-19 reasons between January 2018 and December 2020. The crude rate of hospitalizations was 79.3 per month between March-December of 2018–2019 and 56.5 per month between March-December of 2020. The was an adjusted absolute difference of 27.0 (95% CI: 10.0, 43.9) fewer hospital admissions during the pandemic period, corresponding to a relative drop of 34%. Residents admitted during the pandemic period had similar demographics and clinical characteristics but were more likely to be admitted for delirium (pandemic: 7% pre-pandemic: 5%, p = 0.01) and were less likely to be admitted for pneumonia (pandemic: 3% pre-pandemic: 6%, p = 0.004). Residents admitted during the pandemic were more likely to be prescribed antipsychotics (pandemic: 37%, pre-pandemic: 29%, p <0.001) and more likely to die in-hospital (pandemic:14% pre-pandemic: 10%, p = 0.04) Conclusions and implications Better integration between long-term care and hospitals systems, including programs to deliver urgent medical care services within long-term care homes, is needed to ensure that long-term care residents maintain equitable access to acute care during current and future public health emergencies.


  • Jones, Aaron
  • Mowbray, Fabrice I
  • Falk, Lindsey
  • Stall, Nathan M
  • Brown, Kevin A
  • Malikov, Kamil
  • Malecki, Sarah L
  • Lail, Sharan
  • Jung, Hae Young
  • Costa, Andrew
  • Verma, Amol A
  • Razak, Fahad

publication date

  • 2022