Date Published: 14 October 2006

Provision of care for intellectual disability highest since records began (Ireland)

Health News from the Republic of Ireland (Eire).

The provision of day care and full-time residential care services for people with an intellectual disability are at an all time high according to the National Intellectual Disability Database Annual Report 2006 recently published by the Health Research Board (HRB). Despite record levels of service provision and significant investment in intellectual disability services, the demand for full-time residential services is now at its highest level since 2001, with 2,118 people requiring full-time residential care.

" Increasing demand for new residential services reported by the Health Research Board can be attributed to key demographic factors," according to Caraiosa Kelly of the HRB and co-author of the report.

" High birth rates in the 1960s and 70s mean that a large adult population currently uses or requires intellectual disability services, contributing to an ongoing demand. People with intellectual disability are also living longer, which means more people require services for a longer time."

" These factors indicate that demand is likely to increase for new residential places over the coming years", Ms Kelly explained.

" Demographic trends identified in the report support this point. For example, the proportion of people over 35 years of age who have a severe intellectual disability has increased from 29% to 47% in the past 30 years. If the demand for residential services continues to rise at the rate observed in the HRB national dataset over the past three years, only a proportion of the existing and emerging need in this area will be addressed", she concluded.

There has been a significant increase in the availability of residential support services, in particular for planned or emergency centre based services. These services have grown significantly over the past ten years, with over 4,200 people availing of this type of support. However, a total of 1,954 people who do not receive residential support services such as respite care now, will need these services in the period 2007-2011. This an increase of 114 since 2005 and the highest recorded need for residential support services since the database was established. In addition, 11,818 people who already have services need those services enhanced or changed to meet specific needs, representing an increase of 228 since 2005.

In 2006, there are 25,518 people registered on the National Intellectual Disability Database. Almost three in every five (14,668) have a severe intellectual disability. There are more males (57%) than females (43%) registered. The Report highlights a clear relationship between level of disability, age and type of service available; those who are younger and in the less severe range of intellectual disability tend to be in services provided on a 'day' basis.

In 2006, 24,556 people with an intellectual disability are receiving services. This is the highest number of people recorded as being in receipt of services since the database was established in 1995. Data from April 2006* show that:

  • 24,386 people (96% of total registrations) use day services.
  • 8,181 people (32% of total registrations) receive full-time residential services. This is the highest recorded number of full-time residents since 2001. The number of people residing in psychiatric hospitals has fallen by 48, to 348, since 2005.
  • 4,912 people (19% of total registrations) avail of residential support services such as respite and regular part-time care.
  • 19,152 people (74% of total registrations) receive multidisciplinary support services such as social work, psychology and medical services.
  • 313 people (1% of total registrations) receive no service whatsoever and require services, which is the lowest number of such cases since the database was established.
  • 649 people (3% of total registrations) receive no service and have no identified service requirements.

This is the third consecutive year that the NIDD Annual Report has been published in the same year as the data were gathered. This means that it is possible for decisions about service provision in 2007 to be based on the most up-to-date information available. Each Health Service Executive Local Health Office will receive a complete set of regional data from the report and a regional bulletin to assist more effective co-ordination of local services.


Source: Health Research Board (Ireland).

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