The State of America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis 2022

The longstanding direct support workforce crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to closures of critically needed services and a denial of access to community-based supports.
Access the Report
Capitol Correspondence - 06.02.20

People with Intellectual / Developmental Disabilities More Likely to Die of COVID-19

Share this page

As reported by Newsweek:

“People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are more likely to die from COVID-19 than those without, according to a study.

The authors of the paper published in the journal Disability and Health Journal believe that the between 2.6 to four million people in the U.S. who have an intellectual or developmental disability, such as cerebral palsy or Down’s syndrome, may be vulnerable because they are more likely to have underlying conditions such as high blood pressure, heart and respiratory diseases, and diabetes.

These conditions are thought to increase the risk of developing complications from COVID-19, the disease that has killed more than 360,437 people in 5.8 million cases since late last year, according to Johns Hopkins University. Over 2.4 million people are known to have recovered.

[…]

Of the 30,282 patients included in the analysis, 474 had some form of IDD and 29,808 did not. The most common were pervasive and specific developmental disorders, an umbrella term for conditions including autism and Asperger’s. Thirty three percent had an intellectual disability, 18 percent cerebral palsy, 21 percent a chromosomal abnormality, and 5 percent Down’s syndrome.

Of the 30,282 patients included in the analysis, 474 had some form of IDD and 29,808 did not. The most common were pervasive and specific developmental disorders, an umbrella term for conditions including autism and Asperger’s. Thirty three percent had an intellectual disability, 18 percent cerebral palsy, 21 percent a chromosomal abnormality, and 5 percent Down’s syndrome.

[…]

The authors acknowledged their study was limited as the database had a small number of IDD cases, which made it hard for them to split the patients into smaller age groups.

Also, the findings may not relate to a wider population, as the figures came from the 42 health care organizations. Their approach to counting COVID-19 deaths may have also missed deaths linked to COVID-19 outside their 30 day time frame, they said.

‘More attention is needed to this vulnerable health population in order to ensure their safety and well-being during this pandemic, including careful attention to the impact of public policies such as PPE [personal protective equipment] prioritization and funding streams on the ability of residential service providers to guarantee quality care during this time,’ Landes [one of the researchers] said.”