Recording of intellectual disability in general hospitals in England 2006–2019: Cohort study using linked datasets

Rory Sheehan*, Hassan Mansour, Matthew Broadbent, Angela Hassiotis, Christoph Mueller, Robert Stewart, Andre Strydom, Andrew Sommerlad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background AU Accurate: Pleaseconfirmthatallheadinglevelsarerepresentedcorrectly recognition and recording of intellectual disability in: those who are admitted to general hospitals is necessary for making reasonable adjustments, ensuring equitable access, and monitoring quality of care. In this study, we determined the rate of recording of intellectual disability in those with the condition who were admitted to hospital and factors associated with the condition being unrecorded. Methods and findings Retrospective cohort study using 2 linked datasets of routinely collected clinical data in England. We identified adults with diagnosed intellectual disability in a large secondary mental healthcare database and used general hospital records to investigate recording of intellectual disability when people were admitted to general hospitals between 2006 and 2019. Trends over time and factors associated with intellectual disability being unrecorded were investigated. We obtained data on 2,477 adults with intellectual disability who were admitted to a general hospital in England at least once during the study period (total number of admissions = 27,314; median number of admissions = 5). People with intellectual disability were accurately recorded as having the condition during 2.9% (95% CI 2.7% to 3.1%) of their admissions. Broadening the criteria to include a nonspecific code of learning difficulty increased recording to 27.7% (95% CI 27.2% to 28.3%) of all admissions. In analyses adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, and socioeconomic deprivation, having a mild intellectual disability and being married were associated with increased odds of the intellectual disability being unrecorded in hospital records. We had no measure of quality of hospital care received and could not relate this to the presence or absence of a record of intellectual disability in the patient record. Conclusions Recognition and recording of intellectual disability in adults admitted to English general hospitals needs to be improved. Staff awareness training, screening at the point of admission, and data sharing between health and social care services could improve care for people with intellectual disability.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1004117
JournalPLoS Medicine
Issue number3 March
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


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