The cost of respiratory hospitalizations in children with cerebral palsy

Natasha L. Bear, Andrew Wilson, A. Marie Blackmore, Elizabeth Geelhoed, Shannon Simpson, Katherine Langdon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To establish the burden of respiratory illness in cerebral palsy (CP) on the Western Australian health care system by quantifying the costs of respiratory hospitalizations in children with CP, compared with non-respiratory hospitalizations. Method: A 2-year (2014–2015) retrospective study using linked hospital data (excluding emergency department visits), in a population of children with CP in Western Australia aged 18 years and under (median age at hospitalization 7 years; interquartile range 5–12 years). Results: In 671 individuals (57% male) there were 726 emergency hospitalizations, and 1631 elective hospitalizations. Although there were more elective hospitalizations, emergency hospitalizations were associated with longer stays in hospital, and more days in an intensive care unit, resulting in a higher total cost of emergency hospitalizations than elective hospitalizations (total costs: emergency AU$7 748 718 vs elective AU$6 738 187). ‘Respiratory’ was the leading cause of emergency hospitalizations, contributing to 36% of all emergency admission costs. For a group of high-cost inpatient users (top 5% of individuals with the highest total inpatient costs) the most common reason for hospitalization was ‘respiratory’. Where non-respiratory admissions were complicated by an additional respiratory diagnosis, length of stay was greater. Interpretation: Respiratory hospitalizations in CP are a significant driver of health care costs. In the paediatric group, they are a burden for a subgroup of children with CP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-352
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number3
Early online date25 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


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