Primary health care services for patients with chronic disease in Newfoundland and Labrador: a descriptive analysis

Buote, Richard and Asghari, Shabnam and Aubrey-Bassler, F. Kris and Knight, John Christopher and Lukewich, Julia (2019) Primary health care services for patients with chronic disease in Newfoundland and Labrador: a descriptive analysis. CMAJ Open, 7 (1). E8-E14. ISSN 2291-0026

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Background: Newfoundland and Labrador has a rapidly aging population, much of which is rural, with poor health behaviours and high rates of chronic disease. These factors contribute to a unique challenge in health care delivery. Our aim was to describe the availability of publicly funded primary health care programs and services delivered by regional health authorities across the province. Methods: We performed a descriptive analysis using data from a cross-sectional provincial primary health care survey deployed across Newfoundland and Labrador. Survey data included location, disease-specific chronic disease prevention programming, types of routine primary care, allied health prevention and promotion, chronic disease prevention and management services, and team-based care. The mode of service delivery was identified for most programs and services. Results: Surveys were returned by 153 sites (99.4% response rate). Family physician services were available at 66% of sites (95/145) and nurse practitioner services were available at 51% (74/144) of sites. Many sites offered screening for cervical (60%, 86/144), colon (42%, 59/142) and prostate cancers (43%, 60/141), in addition to various self-management and education services. Allied health services, such as clinical nutrition counselling (47%, 68/46) and occupational therapy (46%, 68/147), were available at many sites. Available health care services were most often offered by on-site staff, and few sites provided primary health care services through telehealth. Overall, rural sites offered a greater variety of services than urban sites. Interpretation: Considerable variability exists in the range of primary health care services available across Newfoundland and Labrador, with limited delivery of some programs and services. Future research should examine how availability of programs and services affects health outcomes and costs.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 13645
Additional Information: Memorial University Open Access Author's Fund
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of
Date: 15 January 2019
Date Type: Publication
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