New Study in Women's Health Issues: Sex Differences in Home-Based Care

Media Contact: Kathy Fackelmann,, 202-994-8354

WASHINGTON, DC (April 15, 2015)—Are there differences in the quality of care provided to men and women receiving publicly funded home care services in Ontario, Canada? An article published today in the journal Women's Health Issues investigates this question, as well as differences between patient outcomes in the Canadian province's 14 health planning regions.  In the study, Amanda T. Lo, of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, and her colleagues found while there were sizable differences in outcomes before adjustment, no important differences in outcomes between men and women remained after risk adjustment. This indicates that sex-specific strategies will be needed to improve the quality and outcomes of home care services.

Women’s Health Issues is the official journal of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health, which is based at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.  The article, "Sex Differences in Home Care Performance: A Population-Based Study," was published online April 15, 2015 and will appear in the May/June edition of Women’s Health Issues.

The study analyzed data from the Home Care Reporting System database collected on nearly 120,000 residents of Ontario 65 and older who received publicly funded home care service for 60 days or more between April 2009 and March 2010. It used four quality indicators to determine whether men and women were receiving the same quality of service: decline or failure to improve in the activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and eating, cognitive functioning, symptoms of depression and pain control. 

The authors found there were important differences between men and women receiving home care in the health outcomes that matter to patients, such as pain and ability to care for themselves. But those differences disappeared when the quality indicators were risk-adjusted for clinical conditions such as mobility or dementia, or for caregiver stress. After risk adjustment there were geographic differences in quality of home care across Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Network health-planning regions.  The authors note that the differences indicate the potential to improve home care services for both men and women.

The full text of the article, "Sex Differences in Home Care Performance: A Population-Based Study," is available on the Women’s Health Issues website.


About Women’s Health Issues:
Women's Health Issues is the official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health, and the only journal devoted exclusively to women's health care and policy issues. The journal has a particular focus on women's issues in the context of the U.S. health care delivery system and policymaking processes, although it invites submissions addressing women's health care issues in global context if relevant to North American readers. It is a journal for health professionals, social scientists, policymakers, and others concerned with the complex and diverse facets of health care delivery and policy for women. For more information about the journal, please visit


About Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University:  Established in July 1997 as the School of Public Health and Health Services, Milken Institute School of Public Health is the only school of public health in the nation’s capital. Today, nearly 1,534 students from almost every U.S. state and more than 45 countries pursue undergraduate, graduate and doctoral-level degrees in public health. The school also offers an online Master of Public Health, MPH@GW, and an online Executive Master of Health Administration, MHA@GW, which allow students to pursue their degree from anywhere in the world.