Reports identify high level of service needs by disabled

High levels of service needs by people with disabilities, up to 2021, are identified in two reports just published by the Health Research Board, writes Evelyn Ring.

One shows 2,164 new full-time residential places will be needed for people with intellectual disabilities and most (85%) will need a place in a residential home.

It also reckons 2,244 new residential support services (mainly respite) will be required, an increase of 111 on the projected number in 2015.

Another report on people with physical and sensory disabilities found demand for physiotherapy would increase by 11% while occupational therapy would increase by 8%.

The board’s interim chief executive Mairéad O’Driscoll said services for people with disabilities could be planned better if their future needs were understood.

“We can see from the data that people with intellectual disabilities require more residential, day and respite services. In contrast, those with physical and sensory disabilities need more physiotherapy, occupational therapy and technical aids so they can live more independently at home,” she said.

The findings are from the National Intellectual Disability Database which had 28,275 people registered last year and the National Physical and Sensory Disability Database which had and 21,763 people registered.

There are more males than females registered on both databases. Almost a third of those with physical and sensory disabilities (3,756) were under 18, while 36% (10,142) of those with an intellectual disability were aged up to 19 years.

The most frequently reported type of disability on the National Physical and Sensory Disability Database was neurological (37%) followed by multiple disabilities (32%) and physical disabilities (17%).

Of the 28,275 cases registered on the National Intellectual Disability Database, 9,180 (32%) were described as mild; 11,624 (41%) moderate; 3,998 (14%) severe; and 861 (3%) profound. A further 2,612 (9%) were not verified.

The number of people with an intellectual disability in psychiatric hospitals decreased by six (3.9%) over the last two years from 154 in 2015 to 148 last year.

This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner website.

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