Hospitalizations of Children with Autism Increased from 1999 to 2009
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We performed a retrospective analysis of hospital discharges for children with autism, in comparison to children with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, mental retardation/intellectual disability, and the general population. Hospitalizations for autism increased nearly threefold over 10 years, especially at the oldest ages, while hospitalizations for the other groups did not change. Leading discharge diagnoses for each age group in children with autism included mental health and nervous system disorders. Older age, Caucasian ethnicity, and living in a region with a high number of pediatric beds predicted hospitalizations associated with mental health diagnoses. These findings underscore the need for comprehensive clinical services that address the complex needs of children with autism to prevent costly hospitalizations.
KeywordsAutism Mental health Hospitalization Adolescence
This work was supported by a grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
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