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Press Release

Press release

Service use by people with intellectual disability

7 November 2013

High levels of service provision were reported for people with an intellectual disability in 2012 according to the Annual Report of the National Intellectual Disability Database Committee 2012. However, the report, which was published today by the Health Research Board, indicates that the recent rise in the national birth rate and the growth in the population aged over 65 years will continue to increase demand for services, particularly among children and older adults with intellectual disability.

The annual report presents analysis of the types of services provided to people with an intellectual disability during 2012.  It also highlights the potential demand for services from 2013 to 2017.

Key trends observed in the report include:
  • increased provision of services
  • a continuing shift away from the provision of residential services in institutional settings to those within the community
  • an on-going demand for services to meet the reported needs of people with an intellectual disability
  • greater numbers of individuals surviving into old age, and
  • high levels of demand for respite service across the country. 

All of these trends have implications for the planning and provision of services into the future.

The report is being launched this afternoon at a prize-giving ceremony at Brothers of Charity Services, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.

This ceremony honours service user, Billy Arnold, for his winning entry in the national competition to design the cover of the NIDD Annual Report 2012.  Billy's picture entitled 'I offer you my hand' was selected from more than 300 entries from service users nationwide.

In introducing the Report Enda Connolly, CEO of the HRB said;

'The report continues to point to a changing age profile observed in the data over recent decades, which reflects an increase in the lifespan of people with intellectual disability, and along with the general demographic trend, has major implications for planning for services designed to meet the needs of older people with intellectual disabilities'.

Key findings from the report include:

Demographic profile
  • There were 27,622 people registered on the National Intellectual Disability Database (NIDD) at the end of December 2012.
  • Males accounted for 15,952 (57.8%) registrations, females for 11,670 (42.2%).
  • 10,221 (37.0%) of people on the NIDD were aged 19 years or under, 6,186 (22.4%) were aged between 20 and 34 years, 7,677 (27.8%) were aged between 35 and 54 years, and 3,538 (12.8%) were aged 55 years or over.
  • Of people with a moderate, severe or profound intellectual disability, (namely excluding those with a mild disability) the proportion aged 35 years or over increased from 29% in 1974 to 38% in 1996 and 48% in 2012.
  • 18,330 individuals (66%) lived at home with parents, siblings, relatives or foster parents in 2012.
Service provision in 2012
  • 27,256 people with intellectual disability were in receipt of services, representing 99% of the total population registered on the NIDD. This was the highest number of people in receipt of services since the database was established in 1995.
  • 8,089 (29.7%) were in receipt of full-time residential services, slightly less than the 2011 figure. This is the ninth consecutive year in which the data indicate that more people live in community group homes than in residential centres.
  • The number of people with intellectual disability accommodated in psychiatric hospitals continues to decrease.  Numbers fell by 10%, from 214 in 2011 to 192 in 2012.
  • 27,191 (99.8%) people availed of at least one day programme in 2012. This is the highest rate of day service usage recorded by the NIDD.
  • 23,350 (85.7%) people availed of at least one multidisciplinary support service. The most common services provided to adults were social work, medical services and psychiatry. The most common services provided to children were speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and social work.
Future service needs 2013-2017
  • The 2012 data indicate that 4,522 new residential, day and/or residential support places will be needed to meet service requirements, half of which are residential places. A total of 11,884 people will require changes or enhancements to their day service.
  • There is substantial demand for all the therapeutic services for the coming five years, psychology, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy, in particular.
  • The report highlights the significant amount of HSE-funded health service interventions which school leavers will require as they leave the education system and move to day services in the areas of training and employment.
  • Two important factors which will have an impact on service demand are noted in the report:

Firstly, people with intellectual disability are living longer and this means that they could outlive their caregivers. The extent of this issue is illustrated by the fact that two thirds of people registered on the NIDD (18,330 individuals) were living at home with parents, siblings, relatives or foster parents in 2012 and 3,680 of these individuals were over 35 years of age.

Secondly, when compared with the last national census in 2006, the 2011 census figures highlighted a sustained high birth rate and an increase in the general population of those aged 65 years. Both of these trends will place increasing demands on services into the future.

'The changing profile of the Irish population resulting from rise in the birth rate and a growth in the number of individuals aged over 65 years will result in an upward trend in demand for intellectual disability services', says Caraiosa Kelly, co-author of the report.

'In particular it is reasonable to expect a high level of demand for residential and other services for older individuals in addition to support services for ageing caregivers. The data also highlights the implications for service planning around transition points such as the movement from pre-school to primary school, primary to secondary school and from school to employment.

Even with increasing service provision there are still high levels of unmet need for all service types. Significant challenges lie ahead to address the issues associated with planning and delivering quality services', concludes Ms Kelly.

A copy of the report, Annual Report of the National Intellectual Disability Database Committee 2012, featuring the award-winning cover is available in the publications section of the HRB website at www.hrb.ie.

Print quality images from the launch will be available later this afternoon.

Ends

For more information contact:
Gillian Markey
Communications Manager
Health Research Board
t +353 1 2345103
e gmarkey(at)hrb.ie

Notes for editors

The Health Research Board (HRB) is the lead agency supporting and funding health research in Ireland. We also have a core role in maintaining health information systems and conducting research linked to these systems. Our aim is to improve people's health, build health research capacity, underpin developments in service delivery and make a significant contribution to Ireland's knowledge economy.

The HRB is responsible for managing five national information systems. These systems ensure that valid and reliable data are available for analysis, dissemination and service planning. Data from these systems are used to inform policy and practice in the areas of alcohol and drug use, disability and mental health.

The Disability Databases Team manages two national service-planning databases for people with disabilities on behalf of the Department of Health: the National Intellectual Disability Database (NIDD), established in 1995, and the National Physical and Sensory Disability Database (NPSDD), established in 2002. These databases inform decision-making in relation to the planning of specialised health and personal social services for people with intellectual, physical or sensory disability.

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