Posted by Emily Jacobson
The Emergency Department use is visited frequently by adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, according to a new study.
Researchers from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health conducted the first North American study
to look at population rates of Emergency Department (ED) use in adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). They analyzed data from
43,549 adults with IDD in Ontario. Findings indicated that 55 percent of adults with IDD went to the ED at least once over a period of two years, and slightly
more than 15 percent visited it at least 5 times.
“A lot of attention has been paid to emergency department use in adults with mental health issues,” said Yona Lunsky, lead author of the study and Clinician Scientist at CAMH and Adjunct Scientist at ICES, as quoted by News Medical. “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.”
According to Paul Kurdyak, Adjunct Scientist at ICES and psychiatrist in the ED at CAMH, the findings are troublesome because these patients’ needs are
being met in the ED, so they use it more frequently, even though emergency visits are stressful for everyone. He says this indicates that primary care
and social services need to be improved, so that ED visits are needed less.