The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Long-Term Care in Canada

Healthc Q. 2021 Oct;24(3):13-15. doi: 10.12927/hcq.2021.26625.


The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Canada's long-term care (LTC) sector, with residents of LTC and retirement homes accounting for 67% of all COVID-19-related deaths as of February 15, 2021. This study investigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on LTC residents across Canada during the first six months of the pandemic, including how care changed for residents, using data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information's LTC and acute care databases. The results suggest that LTC residents received less medical care, with fewer physician visits and hospital transfers compared with the same period in 2019. They also had less contact with family/friends compared with the same period in 2019, which was associated with higher levels of depression. In provinces where it could be measured, the number of LTC resident deaths from all causes was higher than pre-pandemic years during the peak of the first wave, even in jurisdictions with few COVID-19-related deaths in LTC.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Pandemics*
  • SARS-CoV-2