Healthcare Policy

Healthcare Policy 16(2) November 2020 : 69-81.doi:10.12927/hcpol.2020.26352
Research Paper

Co-locating Older Retirement Home Residents: Uncovering an Under-Researched Population via Postal Code

Hana Brath, Sanghun J. Kim, Susan E. Bronskill, Paula A. Rochon and Nathan M. Stall


Background: Retirement home residents represent a growing proportion of older Ontarians who cannot be identified within existing administrative databases.

Objective: This article aims to develop an approach for determining, from an individual's postal code, their likelihood of residing in a retirement home.

Methods: We identified 748 licensed retirement homes in Ontario as of June 1, 2018, from a public registry. We developed a two-step evaluation and verification process to determine the probability (certain, likely or unlikely) of identifying a retirement home, as opposed to other dwellings, within a postal code.

Results: We identified 274 (36.7%) retirement homes within a postal code certain to indicate that a person was residing in a retirement home, 200 (26.7%) for which it was likely and 274 (36.7%) for which it was unlikely. Postal codes that were certain and likely identified retirement homes with a capacity for 59,920 residents (79.9% of total provincial retirement home capacity).

Conclusion: It is feasible to identify a substantive cohort of retirement home residents using postal code data in settings where street address is unavailable for linkage to administrative databases.



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