The ABC published an article on 9 Feb 2017 (see below) highlighting concerns raised by Professor Julian Trollor and his team in a research article published in the medical journal BMJ Open (2017: Vol 7, Issue 2.) This showed that people with intellectual disabilities were twice as likely to suffer preventable death as other members of the broad population. The study aimed to investigate mortality and its causes in adults over the age of 20 years with Intellectual Disability. The results provide death statistics and details of potentially avoidable deaths in adults with intellectual disability (ID) who received disability services in New South Wales. The study provides evidence of mortality gaps in people with ID compared with the general population. The high proportion of potentially avoidable deaths for people with ID indicates an opportunity for the development of possible preventative strategies.
Since the ID cohort is derived from registered users of disability services, people with mild ID may be under-represented. These findings are not generalisable to everyone with ID.
The A2D Together Folder attempts to mitigate these preventable deaths, as well as generally reduce the stress that people with disability experience when admitted to the hospital system, by ensuring that all staff within the emergency medical environment are aware of the needs of the person with a disability when accessing health services.
The Sydney Morning Herald have included Michelle’s story to highlight one families experience. Michelle M died of Meningitis in 2009 after a middle ear infection spread to her brain. The happy 28 year olds medical condition was overlooked by medical staff who couldn’t see past her mild intellectual disability, a coronial inquest later found. For Michelle’s mother, the grief will never end.