Does regulating private long-term care facilities lead to better care? a study from Quebec, Canada
Bravo, Gina; Dubois, Marie-France; Demers, Louis; Dubuc, Nicole; Blanchette, Danièle; Painter, Karen; Lestage, Catherine; Corbin, Cinthia
SubjectLong-term care facility
Objective. In the province of Quebec, Canada, long-term residential care is provided by 2 types of facilities: publicly-funded accredited facilities and privately-owned facilities in which care is privately financed and delivered. Following evidence that private facilities were delivering inadequate care, the provincial government decided to regulate this industry. We assessed the impact of regulation on care quality by comparing quality assessments made before and after regulation. In both periods, public facilities served as a comparison group. Design: A cross-sectional study conducted in 2010-2012 that incorporates data collected in 1995-2000. Settings. Random samples of private and public facilities from 2 regions of Quebec. Participants. Random samples of disabled residents aged 65 years and over. In total, 451 residents from 145 care settings assessed in 1995-2000 were compared to 329 residents from 102 care settings assessed in 2010-2012. Intervention. Regulation introduced by the province in 2005, effective February 2007. Main outcome measure. Quality of care measured with the QUALCARE Scale. Results. After regulation, fewer small-size facilities were in operation in the private market. Between the 2 study periods, the proportion of residents with severe disabilities decreased in private facilities while it remained over 80% in their public counterparts. Meanwhile, quality of care improved significantly in private facilities, while worsening in their public counterparts, even after controlling for confounding. Conclusions. The private industry now provides better care to its residents. Improvement in care quality likely results in part from the closure of small homes and change in resident case-mix.