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First North American study to look at ED use by adults with intellectual disabilities
Date:5/13/2011

In the first North American study to examine population rates of Emergency Department (ED) use for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), researchers from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) found 55 per cent of adults with IDD and mental illness visited the ED at least once in a 2 year period and 15.6 per cent visited at least 5 times.

"A lot of attention has been paid to emergency department use in adults with mental health issues. Our study shows that those with an intellectual or developmental disability such as Down Syndrome or autism, on top of their mental health issue are even more likely to use the Emergency Department, and that they use it more often. We need to pay more attention to how we serve this vulnerable group both in and out of the hospital," says lead author Yona Lunsky, Clinician Scientist at CAMH and Adjunct Scientist at ICES.

The study of 43,549 adults with IDD done in Ontario between date April 1, 2007 and date March 31, 2009 found:

Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are more likely to use an ED than those without IDD

Adults with IDD and psychiatric disorder ("dual diagnosis") are more likely to use the ED than those with IDD and no psychiatric disorder

44 per cent of those with IDD visited an ED at least once in a 2 year period and 8.5 per cent visited at least 5 times

55 per cent of those with IDD and mental illness visited ED at least once in a 2 year period and 15.6 per cent visited at least 5 times.

"The concern with this population is that their health needs are being met in the Emergency Department so they use it more frequently. And this is most unfortunate because the Emergency Department visits can end up being stressful for everyone. This indicates the need to improve primary care and social services in the community," says Paul Kurdyak,
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Contact: Michael Torres
media@camh.net
416-595-6015
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Source:Eurekalert

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