PLoS One. 2022 Aug 1;17(8):e0272439. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0272439. eCollection 2022.
BACKGROUND: Despite the high prevalence of epilepsy and multiple barriers to care in people with intellectual disability, the risk of returning to hospital after an admission for epilepsy is largely unknown. In this study, we sought to quantify and compare readmission and emergency department (ED) presentations after hospitalisation for epilepsy in people with and without intellectual disability.
METHODS AND FINDINGS: Using linked administrative datasets, we conducted a retrospective cohort study of people aged 5-64 years with an acute hospitalisation for epilepsy from 2005-2014 in New South Wales, Australia. Acute readmission and ED presentation rates within 30, 90, and 365 days of the index hospitalisation were estimated and compared between people with and without intellectual disability using modified Poisson regression. Of 13537 individuals with an index hospitalisation, 712 children and 1862 adults had intellectual disability. Readmission and ED presentation after the index hospitalisation were common in people with intellectual disability. Within 30 days, 11% of children and 15.6% of adults had an all-cause readmission and 18% of children and 23.5% of adults had an ED presentation. Over 60% of both children and adults presented to an ED within a year. Neurological, respiratory, and infectious conditions were overrepresented reasons for readmission in people with intellectual disability. Age-adjusted relative risks (RRs) within each period showed a higher risk of readmission and ED presentation in children and adults with intellectual disability than without. Most RRs remained statistically significant after controlling for covariates. The largest adjusted RRs were observed for readmission for epilepsy (RR 1.70, 95% CI: 1.42 to 2.04) and non-epilepsy related conditions (RR 1.73, 95%: CI 1.43 to 2.10) in children. Study limitations include lack of clinical data.
CONCLUSIONS: Increased risk of returning to acute care after epilepsy hospitalisation suggests there is a need to improve epilepsy care for people with intellectual disability. We recommend research into strategies to improve management of both seizures and comorbidity.