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Keywords:

  • cost estimation;
  • health checks;
  • health improvement;
  • health inequalities;
  • health screening;
  • intellectual disabilities

Abstract

Background  High rates of health needs among adults with intellectual disabilities flag the need for information about the economic consequences of strategies to identify and address unmet needs. Health-check interventions are one such strategy, and have been demonstrated to effect health gains over the following 12-month period. However, little is known about their effects on service use and costs, and hence how affordable such interventions are.

Methods  We examined service use patterns and costs over a 12-month period for 50 adult participants with intellectual disabilities who received a health-check intervention and 50 individually matched control participants who received standard care only.

Results  The health-check intervention was cheap, and it did not have associated higher costs in terms of service usage. Indeed, mean cost of care for the adults who received standard care only was greater than for the adults who received the health-check intervention. The higher costs were due to differences in unpaid carer support costs.

Conclusion  This is the first study to report the associated service use, and costs of a health-check intervention to improve the health of adults with intellectual disabilities and reduce health inequalities. Results suggest this intervention is cheap and affordable compared with standard care, supporting clinical outcome evidence for its introduction into health care policy and implementation. However, further research is needed to confirm this finding with a larger sample.