The risk of emergency hospital admissions is two times more in adults with intellectual disabilities and the risk of emergency admissions which can be prevented is five times more.
Researchers from St. George's University of London linked primary care records with hospital admission data in a sample of 16,666 adults with intellectual disabilities and 113,562 age, sex and practice matched controls without intellectual disabilities from England's general population.
‘Convulsions/epilepsy, lower respiratory tract infection and urinary tract infection were the three most common reasons for emergency admissions in those with intellectual disability.’
They analyzed all emergency admissions and those only for preventable ambulatory care sensitive conditions. Among adults with intellectual disabilities, 3,847 (23%) had an emergency admission and 1,809 (11%) had multiple admissions. In comparison, 12% of those in the control group had one or more emergency hospitalizations and 4% had multiple admissions.
The overall annual rate for emergency hospitalizations in adults with intellectual disabilities was 182 per 1,000 adults, nearly three times higher than their matched controls and more than double the control group when adjusted for comorbidities, smoking and deprivation.
The overall rate of emergency admissions for Ambulatory Care Sensitive Condition (ACSCs) for adults with intellectual disabilities was 61 per 1,000 adults, compared to 12 per 1,000 for the control group.
The most common ACSCs resulting in admission for adults with intellectual disabilities were convulsions/epilepsy (36 percent), lower respiratory tract infection (19 percent) and urinary tract infection (11 percent).
This study, the first in the United Kingdom to use an unselected group of adults with intellectual disabilities to accurately quantify differences in emergency admissions, lays the foundation for health interventions for adults with such disabilities, particularly as their life expectancy increases.
Higher emergency admission rates represent an area where improvements can be made, the authors suggest.