Navigation Links
Children with autism arrive at emergency room for psychiatric crisis 9 times more than peers

BALTIMORE, Md. (December 3, 2012) In the first study to compare mental health-related emergency department (ED) visits between children with and without autism spectrum disorders (ASD), researchers found that ED visits are nine times more likely to be for psychiatric reasons if a child has an ASD diagnosis. Published in the journal Pediatric Emergency Care (Epub ahead of print), the study found externalizing symptoms, such as severe behaviors tied to aggression, were the leading cause of ED visits among children with ASD. Importantly, the likelihood of a psychiatric ED visit was higher if a child carried private health insurance rather than medical assistance.

"This finding of higher rates of emergency room visits among children with autism demonstrates that many children with autism aren't receiving sufficient outpatient mental health care to prevent and manage the type of crises that are driving these families to seek urgent help," said Dr. Roma Vasa, senior study author and a child psychiatrist in Kennedy Krieger Institute's Center for Autism & Related Disorders. "These findings should highlight the urgent need for better comprehensive outpatient mental health care and insurance coverage for children with autism, along with greater education and training for emergency medical staff."

Using the 2008 National Emergency Department Sample, the largest all-payer ED database in the US, researchers examined data from a total of 3,974,332 ED visits for patients ages 3 to 17, of which 13,191 visits were from children with ASD. Mental health-related ED visits were based on International Classification of Disease (ICD) billing diagnoses that included mood, anxiety and psychotic disorders, suicide and self-injury, and externalizing behaviors such as aggression.

Researchers also studied the influence of different types of insurance coverage on the likelihood of an ED visit for psychiatric reasons. They found that children with ASD whose families had private medical insurance were 58 percent more likely to visit the ED for mental health-related reasons than those whose health insurance was provided through state medical assistance programs.

"We think this is because private insurance plans often exclude autism from behavioral health coverage, have few in-network providers or place restrictive limits on the amount of mental health expenses that they will reimburse," said Luther Kalb, MHS, first study author and a research scientist in Kennedy Krieger Institute's Center for Autism & Related Disorders.

With 1 in 88 children in the U.S. diagnosed with ASD, the use of the ED to treat psychiatric behaviors is likely to increase unless changes occur. Dr. Vasa suggests that this trend is especially troublesome because the ED is not an optimal setting for children with ASD since chaotic environments can exacerbate autism-related or comorbid psychiatric symptoms.

"Children with autism, especially those with co-occurring psychotic disorders or severe behaviors, need to have an emergency crisis plan in place," said Kalb. "Everyone involved in the life of a child with autism, from parents to medical professionals to school educators, needs to have routine discussions about what to do in the case of an escalating situation."

This study also suggests that emergency departments should consider adopting new measures to accommodate children with ASD. This includes greater education and training for ED professionals about how to properly assess and interact with children on the autism spectrum. Additionally, researchers suggest that the large numbers of children with autism accessing the ED may necessitate a separate area for children with ASD that is less chaotic and contains less stimulation than found in the otherwise busiest part of any hospital.

Further research on adults with ASD using the ED for psychiatric reasons and general trends associated with mental health care is needed. With more information, medical professionals and insurance providers can have a greater understanding of the gaps in care and work to improve services.

Contact: Cynthia Chen
Kennedy Krieger Institute

Related medicine news :

1. Childrens Seizures Not Always Damaging, Study Finds
2. Familys economic situation influences brain function in children
3. Study finds alarming 15-fold increase in inflatable bouncer-related injuries among children
4. The hidden disorder: Unique treatment proposed for childrens neurological disorder
5. Fetal alcohol exposure affects brain structure in children
6. Adenotonsillectomy may help resolve obstructive sleep apnea in children with Prader-Willi syndrome
7. Seattle Childrens Research Institute helps identify causes of sagittal craniosynostosis
8. Cincinnati and Boston Childrens Hospitals receive an NIH Autism Center of Excellence Grant
9. Daycare has many benefits for children, but researchers find mysterious link with overweight
10. UGA study finds anxiety linked to chest pain in children
11. Fear of the dentist is passed on to children by their parents
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... The ... OSHA Training Institute Education Center headquartered in Northern California, has issued an important ... heat at their worksites. Employers with workers exposed to high temperatures should ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their media with growing colorful split screen ... - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Color brings the split screens ... reveal the media of their split screens with growing colorful panels. , ProSlice Color ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... TherapySites, ... today its affiliation with Tennessee Counseling Association. This new relationship allows ... the Tennessee Counseling Association, adding exclusive benefits and promotional offers. , "TCA is ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... industry today announced its strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry leader ... two companies’ proven, proprietary technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals and ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... cutting edge technology to revolutionize the emergency ambulance transport experience for the millions ... aware of how Uber has disrupted the taxi industry through the use of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... "Global MEMS Devices Medical Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to ... The report contains up to date financial ... reliable analysis. Assessment of major trends with potential impact on ... dive analysis of market segmentation which comprises of sub markets, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 , ... Thursday, July 7, 2016 , , , , LOCATION: , ... , , , , EXPERT PANELISTS:  , , , Frost ... Industry Analyst, Christi Bird; Senior Industry Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and Unmesh ... The global pharmaceutical industry is witnessing an exceptional era. Several ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Guerbet announced today that it has been ... Award . One of 12 suppliers to ... its support of Premier members through exceptional local customer ... commitment to lower costs. ... our outstanding customer service from Premier," says Massimo ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: