Epilepsy is associated with unmet health care needs compared to the general population despite higher health resource utilization – a Canadian population-based study
Authors: Aylin Y. Reid, Amy Metcalfe, Scott B. Patten, Samuel Wiebe, Sophie Macrodimitris, and Nathalie Jetté
Purpose: (1) To determine whether health resource utilization (HRU) and unmet health care needs differ for individuals with epilepsy compared to the general population or to those with another chronic condition (asthma, diabetes, migraine); and (2) to assess the association among epilepsy status, sociodemographic variables and HRU. Methods: Data on HRU were assessed using the 2001-2005 Canadian Community Health Surveys, a nationally representative population-based survey. Weighted estimates of association were produced as adjusted odds ratio with 95% confidence intervals, and logistic regression was used to explore the association between sociodemographic variables and HRU in those with epilepsy. All data on disease status, HRU, and unmet health care needs were self-reported. Key Findings: Individuals with epilepsy had the highest rate of hospitalizations and the highest mean number of consultations with physicians. Despite higher rates of consultation with psychologists and social workers compared to the general population, those with epilepsy were significantly more likely to say they had unmet mental health care needs. People with epilepsy were also less likely to use dental services compared to the general population. Epilepsy was a significant predictor of HRU in logistic regression models. Significance: Given the prevalence of psychiatric comorbidities in those with epilepsy, it is concerning that this group perceives unmet mental health care needs. It is also troublesome that there was decreased utilization of dental health care resources in those with epilepsy considering that these patients are more likely to have poor oral health. Although individuals with epilepsy use more health care services than the general population, this increase appears to be insufficient to address their health care needs.
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