might assume that people with
developmental disabilities and psychiatric illness use emergency rooms a lot
because they can’t get in to see their doctor or don’t have access to primary
care. But our study shows that they do see primary care doctors and often also
have psychiatric care. They use the emergency department frequently because
they have high needs and these needs are not being met with the care they are
receiving,” says lead author Yona Lunsky, Clinician Scientist at CAMH and
Adjunct Scientist at ICES.
study compared Ontario
adults, with and without developmental disabilities and mental illnesses. It
looked at their use of primary, psychiatric and emergency department care between
April 1, 2007 and March 31, 2009 and found:
“We need to
begin looking at quality of care, and not simply whether these patients have
access to care, or whether they have enough care. We also need to consider
other types of care beyond medical services and how they can be linked to
medical care. Needs can be so multifaceted that the primary care doctor is not
able to address all these needs alone,” says Lunsky.
This is the first population-based study to examine different levels of
severity for people with “dual
diagnosis” and to compare them to the general population. It is also the first
study to look at how different types of health services (psychiatry, primary
care, and emergency care) are used by adults with developmental disabilities.
Author block: Yona Lunsky,
Elizabeth Lin, Rob Balogh, Julie Klien-Geltink, Andrew S. Wilton and Paul
The study “Emergency
Department Visits and Use of Outpatient Physician Services by Adults with
Developmental Disability and Psychiatric Disorder,” is in the October 18, 2012
edition of The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.
More detailed study
findings on the ICES website: www.ices.on.ca
ICES is an independent, non-profit
organization that uses population-based health information to produce knowledge
on a broad range of health care issues. Our unbiased evidence provides measures
of health system performance, a clearer understanding of the shifting health
care needs of Ontarians, and a stimulus for discussion of practical solutions
to optimize scarce resources. ICES knowledge is highly regarded in Canada and
abroad, and is widely used by government, hospitals, planners, and practitioners
to make decisions about care delivery and to develop policy.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's
largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the
world's leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health.
CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health
promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and
addiction issues. Fully affiliated with the University of Toronto,
CAMH is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization
Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit www.camh.ca.
For further information please contact:
Media Advisor, ICES
416-480-4780 or cell 416-904-4547
CAMH Senior Media Relations Specialist