Societal cost of childhood intellectual disability in Australia
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 2020, 64, (7), pp. 524-537
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BACKGROUND:There is limited research quantifying the direct and indirect economic costs associated with intellectual disability (ID) in Australia. Costs incurred by families, governments and broader society include time spent providing care, absenteeism and increased healthcare utilisation. The purpose of this research is to quantify the costs associated with ID in childhood using a range of methods to collect cost data. METHODS:Costs included healthcare service utilisation, pharmaceutical use, caregiver productivity losses and time spent providing care because of the child's disability. The sample comprised caregivers with a child with ID aged between 2 and 10 years old recruited in Australia. Healthcare service utilisation and pharmaceutical use were obtained from routinely collected administrative claims data. Healthcare utilisation not captured in the routinely collected administrative data and absenteeism data were obtained from a retrospective recall-based questionnaire. Time spent providing care because of the child's disability was obtained using a time-use diary. RESULTS:The total cost of ID in Australia was estimated to be AUD 72 027 per year per child, and the total cost of ID in childhood was estimated to be AUD 12.5 billion per year. The cost to governments of ID in childhood was estimated to be AUD 6385 per child per year, resulting in a total cost to government of AUD 1.1 billion per year. CONCLUSIONS:This is the first study to estimate the direct and indirect costs associated with ID in childhood. The results of this research demonstrate the considerable economic impact of ID in childhood on families, governments and broader society in terms of both direct and indirect costs. An understanding of the cost implications of any intervention are critical in assisting policymakers in planning and prioritising of health services.
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