Health Care Usage among Children and Adults with Cerebral Palsy

Susan I. Michelsen, Esben M. Flachs, Bjarne Laursen, Gija Rackauskaite, Niels Ellitsgaard, Anette Andersen, Louise N. Jespersen, Signe Boe Rayce, Peter Uldall

Abstract

Objective − This paper aims to quantify and compare health care usage among children and adults with and without cerebral palsy (CP).

Materials and Methods − A population-based study using public registries with follow-up of children and adults. Persons with CP born from 1950 to 2003 were identified in the Danish Cerebral Palsy Registry (4235 persons). Persons without CP were selected randomly from the Danish Civil Registration System and matched by birth year and gender (22,351 persons). Hospitalizations, visits to specialists, general practitioners and emergency health services were analysed. Children were born 1995-2003 and monitored until 2012 (1996-2012). Adults were born 1950-1985 and monitored for ten years (2003-2012).

Results − Significantly fewer adults with CP visited specialists compared with children with CP. At the same time, the differences in use of general practitioners and between persons with and without CP were smaller in adulthood compared to childhood. Persons with CP and the most severe impairments had an unexpected low frequency of acute admissions compared with children with CP. We did not find a high use of acute contact with the health care system among adults with CP.

Conclusion − If acute contacts with the health care system could be assumed to be a direct measurement of serious illness, this study does not identify a larger risk of serious illness in adults with CP, but other factors, such as reduced access to the acute health care system may, however, also be a reason for the lower use in adulthood.

Keywords

Cerebral Palsy; Health Care; Child; Adult; Registry

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