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      Changing profiles of individuals with autism spectrum disorder admitted to a specialized inpatient unit

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          The purpose of this paper is to study the profiles of adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) requiring an inpatient psychiatric admission.


          This paper examines profiles of 27 inpatients with intellectual disability (ID) and ASD who were admitted to a specialized inpatient unit in two time periods (January 2005 to June 2009 and July 2009 to December 2013) to explore changes over time in patient profiles.


          Findings suggest that individuals who were admitted more recently between July 2009 and December 2013, were younger and more likely to come from other ethnic backgrounds than those admitted between January 2005 and June 2009. There was a trend for recent admissions to come from family homes, have moderate to profound ID and have longer hospital stay.


          This is the first study to compare profiles of adults with ASD receiving inpatient services over time. The value of the study lies in illustrating that the needs of this growing patient group are changing which has implications for the treatment provision including specialized inpatient treatment.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Psychiatric hospitalization among children with autism spectrum disorders.

          This study examined predictors of psychiatric hospitalization among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Data were collected from 760 caregivers of children with ASD. Cox regression was used to determine factors associated with hospitalization. Almost 11% were hospitalized. Youth in single parent homes were more likely to be hospitalized (OR = 2.54), as were youth diagnosed at a later age (OR = 1.10). Engaging in self-injurious behavior (OR = 2.14), aggressive behavior (OR = 4.83), and being diagnosed with depression (OR = 2.48) or obsessive compulsive disorder (OR = 2.35) increased the odds of hospitalization. Risk for hospitalization increased with age and over time. The results suggest early diagnosis and community-based interventions for aggressive and self-injurious behaviors may reduce hospitalizations.
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            Screening for autism spectrum disorders in adult psychiatric out-patients: a preliminary report.

            To estimate the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) among adult psychiatric out-patients; to evaluate the efficacy of a new brief screening questionnaire (ASDASQ). 1323 adult psychiatric out-patients were screened by staff. Analysis of psychiatric records of patients (n = 66) scoring high on the ASDASQ yielded 31 patients with a suspected ASD. Twenty-two of these patients were clinically examined. Three psychometric aspects of the questionnaire were studied. Seventeen patients were found by clinical examination to have an ASD. Since two patients scoring low on the ASDASQ were known to have an ASD, at least 19 patients in this population (1.4%) had a definite ASD. Seventeen of the ASD patients had been previously diagnosed with other psychiatric disorders, most frequently schizophrenia (n = 5). Of patients attending a treatment centre for severe psychiatric disabilities (n = 499), 3.2% had an ASD. The ASDASQ showed good reliability across and within raters. Internal consistency was excellent. Adult psychiatric patients sometimes have undiagnosed autism spectrum disorders. The ASDASQ can be useful for screening.
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              Psychiatric hospital treatment of children with autism and serious behavioral disturbance.

              Children with autism spectrum disorder are psychiatrically hospitalized much more frequently than children in the general population. Hospitalization occurs primarily because of externalizing behaviors and is associated with behavioral disturbance, impaired emotion regulation, and psychiatric comorbidity. Additionally, a lack of practitioner and/or administrator training and experience with this population poses risks for denial of care by third-party payers or treatment facilities, inadequate treatment, extended lengths of stay, and poor outcomes. Evidence and best practices for the inpatient psychiatric care of this population are presented. Specialized treatment programs universally rely on multidisciplinary approaches, including behaviorally informed interventions.

                Author and article information

                Advances in Autism
                Emerald Publishing
                03 January 2017
                : 3
                : 1
                : 27-33
                Centre For Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada
                Toronto, Canada
                Author notes
                Yona Lunsky can be contacted at:
                589277 AIA-10-2016-0026.pdf AIA-10-2016-0026
                © Emerald Publishing Limited
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 26, Pages: 7, Words: 3576
                research-article, Research paper
                cat-HSC, Health & social care
                cat-LID, Learning & intellectual disabilities
                Custom metadata


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