What is H-CARDD?
The H-CARDD program was developed to address disparities in health status and health care access faced by individuals with developmental disabilities in Ontario, Canada. Individuals with developmental disabilities often have complex health care needs, experience difficulty in accessing appropriate services, and tend to encounter health care providers with little knowledge of how to support them. The overall goal of the H-CARDD program is to monitor and improve the health and health care of Ontarians with developmental disabilities through engagement with researchers, policy makers, health care planners, clinicians, adults with developmental disabilities, and caregivers.
What has H-CARDD done?
The H-CARDD program was established in 2010 by Dr. Yona Lunsky and a team of colleagues and partners. In its first phase (2010-2013), the program focused its efforts on primary health care. The first task was to link information from across government sectors in order to study as large a group of adults with developmental disabilities as possible from all across Ontario.
Through linking information across different government sectors it is now possible to study how over 66,000 adults with developmental disabilities use health care - the largest cohort of its kind in the world. Since creating this cohort, H-CARDD has explored the quality of primary care for those with developmental disabilities in Ontario, based on Canadian guidelines related to this population. With its partners and knowledge users H-CARDD has identified some critical gaps in health care services and some priority groups to study further.
The findings of this first research phase have been published in the Atlas of Primary Care for Adults With Developmental Disabilities in Ontario.
From 2013 to 2016, the H-CARDD program has been helping to bridge gaps in health care service by:
- Learning more about issues specific to four subgroups that are vulnerable to gaps in care: women, youth in transition, aging adults, and those with mental health problems; and
- Using our earlier findings to improve primary and emergency care for adults with developmental disabilities.
In addition, H-CARDD will conduct research relevant to program and policy questions that matter to those seeking knowledge about health care planning.
Going forward, H-CARDD is evaluating a population-based intervention, which will increase the rate at which people with developmental disabilities get periodic health exams. Through knowledge exchange, a top priority for H-CARDD, previously unavailable research information will be provided to H-CARDD's knowledge user partners. This information will address health care utilization patterns in various areas of health care for over 66,000 Ontarians with developmental disabilities compared to individuals without developmental disabilities.