Tertiary paediatric hospital admissions in children and young people with cerebral palsy

Elaine Meehan, G. L. Freed, S. M. Reid, K. Williams, J. R. Sewell, B. Rawicki, D. S. Reddihough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Many previous studies that have investigated hospital admissions in children and young people with cerebral palsy lack information on cerebral palsy severity and complexity. Consequently, little is known about factors associated with the frequency and type of hospital admissions in this population. This study used hospital admission data available for all children and young people known to a population-based cerebral palsy register to describe the patterns of use of tertiary paediatric hospital services over a 5-year period. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort analysis of routinely collected admission data from the two tertiary paediatric hospitals in the Australian state of Victoria. Data on admissions of individuals born between 1993 and 2008 registered on the Victorian Cerebral Palsy Register were analysed (n=2183). Results: Between 2008 and 2012, 53% of the cohort (n=1160) had at least one same-day admission, and 46% (n=996) had one or more multi-day admissions. Those with a moderate to severe motor impairment and those with a co-diagnosis of epilepsy had more admissions, and for multi-day admissions, longer lengths of stay, P<0.05. Across all severity levels, respiratory and musculoskeletal diseases were the most frequently reported reasons for medical and surgical admissions, respectively. All-cause readmission rates for urgent multi-day stays within 7, 30 and 365days of an index admission were 10%, 23% and 63%, respectively. Conclusions: The reasons for hospital admissions reported here reflect the range of comorbidities experienced by children and young people with cerebral palsy. This study highlights priority areas for prevention, early diagnosis and medical management in this group. Improved primary and secondary prevention measures may decrease non-elective hospital admissions and readmissions in this group and reduce paediatric inpatient resource use and healthcare expenditure attributable to cerebral palsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)928-937
Number of pages10
JournalChild: Care, Health and Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral palsy register
  • Health services research
  • Hospitalisations
  • Inpatient resources
  • Readmissions
  • Respiratory

Cite this