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Are adults with developmental disabilities more likely to visit EDs?

Published:February 14, 2011DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajem.2010.12.028
      This brief report presents the first North American population data on rates of emergency department (ED) use among adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) relative to the general population. Individuals with IDD are at greater risk for health problems compared with the general population [
      • US Public Health Services
      ,
      • Van Schrojenstein Lantman-deValk H.M.J.
      • Metsemakers J.F.M.
      • Haveman M.J.
      • et al.
      Health problems in people with intellectual disability in general practice: a comparative study.
      ] and have higher morbidity and earlier mortality as a result. Illness in individuals with IDD can be further exacerbated in a health care system that is fragmented and inadequately resourced, particularly when medical professionals do not have the necessary expertise [
      • Ouellette-Kuntz H.
      Understanding health disparities and inequities faced by individuals with intellectual disabilities.
      ]. These issues are magnified when, in addition to chronic and acute medical concerns, a comorbid mental health issue emerges. Consequently, individuals with coexisting IDD and psychiatric disorder have been identified as a group with particularly complex service needs [
      • Lunsky Y.
      • Garcin N.
      • Morin D.
      • et al.
      Mental health services for individuals with intellectual disabilities in Canada: findings from a national survey.
      ].
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