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New Atlas on the Primary Care of Adults with Developmental Disabilities in Ontario

December 19, 2013

AtlasReportCoverEarlier this year, we reported on the release of a report about the Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities (H-CARDD) Program’s upcoming atlas. The full atlas has now been published in collaboration between the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.

The atlas is a first for Canada, providing descriptive information on the health of adults with developmental disabilities(DD) in Ontario by looking at linked health and social services data. The atlas not only reports the prevalence, demographic and disease profiles for the DD population but also looks at health services utilization, secondary prevention, chronic disease management, and medication use.

Individuals with DD experience higher rates of chronic conditions, especially mental health issues.

Below are some highlights from the report related to the mental health of adults with developmental disabilities:

  • Close to half of adults with developmental disabilities have a coexisting mental illness sometime called a “dual diagnosis”
  • 42 percent of adults with DD had no follow-up psychiatric or primary care within one month of their mental health emergency, which is similar to the non-DD population
  • Repeat visits to the emergency department are more common in those with developmental disabilities
  • The most commonly prescribed medications for the DD population were for mental health or behavioural issues, with antipsychotic medications being prescribed most frequently
  • 1 in 5 adults prescribed antipsychotics were dispensed two antipsychotics concurrently, putting them at risk for adverse reactions, including death

The atlas also outlines the policy and practice implications of these findings. To view the full atlas, click visit the CAMH Knowledge Exchange website.

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