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Two separate, independent studies have been completed reviewing the Health Risk Screening Tool (HRST) to both mortality trends and life expectancy trends. Both studies support a correlation between the HRST Health Care Level and mortality dynamics.

One of the independent studies is an ongoing examination being conducted by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD).

Georgia DBHDD has used the HRST as a frame of reference for the last five years in the Department’s annual Mortality Reports. Each year the correlation between health risk score and mortality has remained consistent.

The primary results of the GA DBHDD analyses indicate two main points. First, models for 2013 to 2017 are very similar in that age and health risk scores were the two main predictors of death (and not gender or residential setting.) Second, the model indicates possible opportunities to identify risk of death associated with age and HRST scores and to determine additional services, supports or actions needed.

Not only can you adjust resources to mitigate risk, but coordinate and design specific programs for people identified as presenting high risk in a range of areas.

The question remains “Now that we know this, what can we do with the information?” Not only can you adjust resources to mitigate risk, but coordinate and design specific programs for people identified as presenting high risk in a range of areas. This could help with training direct support staff and designing targeted interventions.

This research and its potential impact on preventable deaths among those with I/DD is only the beginning! This could have powerful implications for health and safety of high risk individuals with disabilities, informing system-wide improvements in both surveillance and response to risk. Imagine if these efforts could lead to I/DD mortality rates that are similar to the general population. This data challenges us to envision a future for those with I/DD that is much different than in the past – a future where the standard is a healthy, well-lived life!

Get the full 2017 mortality report: GA Annual Mortality Report (PDF).

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