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Mortality and Life Expectancy in Dutch Residential Centres for Individuals with Intellectual Disability, 1991–1995

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Background 

Several studies showed that the individuals with intellectual disability have a shorter life expectancy than their intellectually average peers. To gain insight in the present life expectancy of people with intellectual disability, a study with recent data was performed. Methods 

We used data of the National Case Register (LRZ) with data of almost all residents of residential centres in the Netherlands for the period 1991–1995 (N = 29 290). Approximately 40% of all people with intellectual disability in the Netherlands reside in such centres. Results 

Results showed that 5-year-old people with intellectual disability in Dutch residential centres have a life expectancy of 41 years. The life expectancy of their peers with Down's syndrome in the centres is 46. At the age of 30 years, the respective figures are 36 and 26 years. No statistically significant differences in mortality were found between women and men and between levels of intellectual disability. Conclusions 

Due to prolonged longevity, the client population in residential centres will continue to age and thus the numbers of older individuals will increase. This ageing process has implications for the care for elderly individuals, because they need other care than before due to physical, psychological and social changes and spiritual challenges.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Governor Kremers Center of the University of Maastricht and Pepijn Centre, the Netherlands

Publication date: September 1, 2002

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