Life events linked to likelihood of hospital emergency department visits in people with learning disabilities


Life stress and in particular key stressful events have long been linked with mental ill health. These researchers in Canada set out to look at the link between life events and psychopathology in people with learning disabilities and in particular, the link with hospital use.

The researchers asked key informants to complete a checklist of recent life events from the Psychiatric Assessment for Adults with Developmental Disabilities Checklist (PAS ADD checklist) in relation to 746 adults with learning disabilities who were known to have experienced as least one ‘crisis’. Informants were asked to state whether this crisis had resulted in a visit to a hospital emergency department.

They found that those who had experienced life events in the year were more likely to visit the emergency department in response to crisis than those who had not experienced life events.

The list of life events that were associated with increased likelihood of a visit to the emergency department were: Moving house or residence, serious problem with family, friends or caregivers, problems with the police or other authorities, being unemployed for more than 1 month, having experienced trauma or abuse and  having a drug or alcohol problem

The authors suggest that services could focus their efforts when considering intervention strategies on those people who experience life events, particularly those identified in this study, as these appear to be risk factors for hospital visits.

Life events and emergency department visits in response to crisis in individuals with intellectual disabilities, Lunsky, Y & Elserafi, J., in Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 55: 714–718.

Share on Facebook Tweet this on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google+
Mark as read
Create a personal elf note about this blog
Profile photo of John Northfield

John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

More posts

Follow me here –