What is the problem?
Individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) visit the emergency department (ED) three to four times more often than the general population. Previous research by the H-CARDD program shows that they often leave the ED without a formal crisis prevention and management plan and that they have difficulty following up in the community. In addition, hospital staff often lack knowledge of DD, which prevents them from providing the best possible care. These factors are likely contributors to the high rates of repeated ED use by people with DD.
How is H-CARDD helping?
The H-CARDD program aims to work with our partner EDs, along with community agencies, and people with DD and their caregivers, to develop and share tools and information that can be used when a person with DD comes to the ED. Examples may include communication aids for patients, staff education, development of new departmental protocols, and discharge packages for patients. The tools and information will support staff as they assess, treat, and discharge people with DD, while also enabling people with DD to be more involved in their health care. To read more about the tools and information, please visit the Health Care Resources page.
Identifying potential barriers to the uptake of new tools and novel methods that help distribute best practices to front-line ED staff is a major goal of H-CARDD.
The H-CARDD program is in keeping with Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care (2012), which notes that Ontarians are making visits to the emergency department that can be avoided.
For more information, please contact:
Yona Lunsky, PhD., C. Psych
Scientist, Department of Emergency Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Phone: 416 535 8501, Ext. 37813