Health and Health Care Outcomes


What is the issue?

Previous work from H-CARDD has shown that Ontario adults with developmental disabilities have poorer physical and mental health and use more health care services than other adults.  Specific subgroups, such as younger or older adults, or adults with additional mental health or addiction issues, have unique health concerns. However, our work to date has tended to operate in silos. This means that we don’t often look at patterns across groups and health outcomes, and therefore solutions cannot be integrated across perspectives and settings.

How is H-CARDD helping?

This project takes an integrated, cross-sectoral approach to study five concerning health and health care outcomes:

  • 30-day repeat emergency department visits
  • 30-day repeat hospitalizations
  • alternative level of care days in hospital
  • long-term care stays
  • premature mortality 

We followed a cohort of nearly 65,000 Ontarian adults with developmental disabilities, who were between 19 and 65 years of age in 2010, for a six-year period between April 2010 and March 2016. We compared this cohort to a group of adults without developmental disabilities and examined these outcomes by age, sex and neighbourhood income, as well as by the type of developmental disability they had.

Our main finding is that adults with developmental disabilities were disadvantaged for every outcome examined compared to adults without developmental disabilities. The report below illustrates these health care patterns by different subgroups and by Ontario region.  With these results in hand, H-CARDD will continue to work together with scientists, clinicians, advocates and policy-makers to design and implement integrated solutions that can bridge silos of care between hospital and community, and between various sectors supporting this population.


Download the report Addressing Gaps in the Health Care Services Used by Adults with Developmental Disabilities in Ontario or download a summary below.

Summary - Sommaire



Do you have any questions, thoughts or comments on the report? We would love to hear from you. Please use the comment button to submit your comments or email us at

For more information, please contact:

Elizabeth Lin, PhD

Independent Scientist, DELTA (Data Evaluation, Leadership and Transformational Analyses), Provincial System Support Program, Centre for Addiction and Mental

Phone: 416 535 8501 x 34102



Robert Balogh, PhD

Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Phone: 905 721 8668 x 2602


More information

Summary: get a quick overview of this study in the research snapshot “Addressing Gaps in the Health Care Services Used by Adults with Developmental Disabilities in Ontario

Video: Watch "Health Care & Developmental Disabilities: Alex, Rob, and Betty discuss the latest H-CARDD Report."

Publications: for scientific journal publications about H-CARDD research, visit our knowledge exchange section.

Emergency department use: Common presenting issues and continuity of care for individuals with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities

All cause 30-day readmission in persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and mental illness

Health care tools: H-CARDD shares and develops tools for clinicians, caregivers and people with developmental disabilities that improve communication and information sharing in health care settings. View our health care resources.

The Developmental Disabilities Primary Care Program at Surrey Place has guidelines and practice tools for clinicians caring for patients with developmental disabilities.

Related linksPortico, Canada's Mental Health and Addiction Network, provides resources and information on dual diagnosis for clinicians, clients and families. It includes guidelines, videos, information on social support, and many practical tools.