Ontario’s population is aging and with that comes the reality of higher healthcare costs.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information notes that per capita healthcare costs rise from $9,264 for a person younger than one year old to $12,050 for those aged 75 to 79 and upwards to $20,113 for those 80 and older.1
The first Baby Boomers will reach 80 in fewer than 15 years. The Ontario Ministry of Finance estimates that the number of Ontario citizens over 65 will more than double between now and 2036.2
Accompanying this is an ongoing concern about the lack of access to palliative care across the province. Based on studies in the United States and data from the Ontario Case Costing Initiative, we know that for those who die in hospital, palliative care is significantly less expensive than acute care or intensive care.
Depending on the estimate, expanding access to quality palliative care would have saved between $40 and $354.5 million between 2003 and 2011 in the province of Ontario alone. Projected savings from 2012 to 2036 range from just
under $247 million to just over $2.1 billion, again depending on the estimate scenario.
In short, good palliative care not only helps people to die comfortably, but also saves healthcare costs.
The data shows that Ontario has an economic incentive to provide better end of life care in dedicated palliative care facilities. The savings due to expanded access to palliative care will only grow as our population ages.
Study: We need more palliative care
Op-ed: Now is the time to expand palliative care