The Profile of Older Adults Seeking Chiropractic Care: A Secondary Analysis
Katie de Luca, Sheilah Hogg-Johnson, Martha Funabashi, Silvano Mior & Simon D. French
Department of Chiropractic,
Faculty of Medicine,
Health and Human Sciences,
Background: Musculoskeletal conditions are the primary reason older adults seek general medical care, resulting in older adults as the highest consumers of health care services. While there is high use of chiropractic care by older adults, there is no recent, specific data on why older adults seek chiropractic care and how chiropractors manage conditions. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to describe the demographic characteristics of older adults seeking chiropractic care, and to report problems diagnosed by chiropractors and the treatment provided to older adults who seek chiropractic care.
Methods: A secondary data analysis from two, large cross-sectional observational studies conducted in Australia (COAST) and Canada (O-COAST). Patient encounter and diagnoses were classified using the International Classification of Primary Care, 2nd edition (ICPC-2), using the Australian ICPC-2 PLUS general practice terminology and the ICPC-2 PLUS Chiro terminology. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize chiropractor, patient and encounter characteristics. Encounter and patient characteristics were compared between younger (< 65 years old) and older (≥65 years old) adults using ?2 tests or t-tests, accounting for the clustering of patients and encounters within chiropractors.
Results: A total of 6,781 chiropractor-adult patient encounters were recorded. Of these, 1,067 encounters were for persons aged > 65 years (16%), from 897 unique older patients. The most common diagnosis within older adult encounters was a back problem (56%), followed by neck problems (10%). Soft tissue techniques were most frequently used for older patients (85 in every 100 encounters) and in 29 of every 100 encounters, chiropractors recommended exercise to older patients as a part of their treatment.
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