Although many studies have explored emergency services for children, there are few published reports of the utilization of emergency services by children with disabilities. The present study attempts to provide data regarding the utilization of, and factors affecting, emergency department visits by disabled children in Taipei. A general census of 1006 children with disabilities, identified from the Taiwan National Disability Registry System in Taipei, was conducted. The overall response rate was 38%, yielding a sample of 340 disabled children. The results showed that 30.1% of children with disabilities had utilized emergency department services over the past 4 months with an average of 1.4 visits per child. The most common reasons for emergency visits were fever (34.7%), respiratory symptoms (24.2%), abdominal pain (15.8%), injury (7.4%), and epilepsy seizures (7.4%). This study also found, using a logistic regression model, that emergency department utilization may be associated with household economic status and the reported physical health of children with disabilities. The 'deficit' and 'balance' household economic status groups gave odds ratios of 3.902 (95% CI = 1.469-10.364) and 3.311 (95% CI = 1.249-8.779), relative to the 'surplus' group. The model also indicated that those children with disabilities who were reported as being in poor physical health had 11.359 times (95% CI = 2.968-43.469) the likelihood of using emergency care than those whose physical health was in excellent condition. The study suggests that in order to maximize the health of children with disabilities, medical care stakeholders should consider who are the most likely groups to use emergency department services and develop anticipatory guidance or preventive services for this vulnerable population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas