Equivalence of care? Accessibility and availability of dialysis services for older prisoners in Switzerland.

PURPOSE According to the principle of equivalence of care, health care in prison has to be of the same standard and quality as in the general population. This study aims to determine the geographic accessibility of dialysis services for older prisoners and the older general population in Switzerland and whether accessibility and availability of dialysis care are equivalent. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH Spatial accessibility analysis incorporated four different data types: population data, administrative data, street network data and addresses of prisons and hemodialysis services. FINDINGS Analysis revealed that the average travel time to the nearest dialysis service was better for prisoners (11.5 min) than for the general population (14.8 min). However, dialysis service for prisoners is hampered by the necessary lead-time in correctional settings, which, ultimately, leads to longer overall access times (36.5 min). Accordingly, the equivalence of dialysis care for older Swiss prisoners is not entirely respected for availability and accessibility. ORIGINALITY/VALUE The strength of the study lies in the combination of ethical principles and the highly tangible results of a spatial accessibility analysis. The ethics-driven empirical analysis provides arguments for policy-makers to review the current practices.
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