Access to primary and emergency care for children with intellectual disabilities: utilisation, decision making, parental preferences and disparities

The aim of this research is to learn about the inequalities faced by children with intellectual disabilities (ID) in Ireland in relation to healthcare and to find out the reasons why these inequalities occur. In many other countries around the world, children with ID do not receive the same standard of healthcare as children without ID. Healthcare staff are often not trained to meet the specific needs of a child with ID and sometimes their illnesses are not diagnosed, which means they may not always receive the proper treatment. Additionally, children with ID are sent to hospital more often than children without ID, even if they do not necessarily need to be there. Ireland recently ratified the UNCRPD which states that people with disabilities must have equal rights within all aspects of society. Also, children?s health services in Ireland are currently undergoing changes and in recent years all children under 6 received free GP care. In consideration of these changes, it is important to establish the health inequalities of children with ID so that they can be adequately addressed. The research will compare children with and without ID on the number of times that they visit their GP and the emergency department, and will examine whether attendance was affected by the introduction of free GP care for under 6's. It will also explore the reasons why GPs refer children with ID to the emergency department or other hospital services and find out what type of healthcare parents would prefer for their children. The last stage of the research will produce a list of strategies that will seek to reduce inequalities to make sure that children with ID are receiving the best healthcare to meet their needs.

Award Date
27 September 2018
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Emma Nicholson
Host Institution
University College Dublin
Applying Research into Policy & Practice Postdoctoral Fellowships