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|Longitudinal Study:||LSAC||Title:||Healthcare costs associated with language difficulties up to 9 years of age: Australian population-based study||Authors:||Lucas, Nina
|Abstract:||Aim: Surprisingly little is known about the healthcare costs associated with language difficulties, precluding estimations of the economic implications of service improvements. This study aimed to quantify the non-hospital healthcare costs associated with language difficulties across the early to middle childhood years. Method: Data from waves 1-3 of LSAC (B and K cohorts) were used to estimate the healthcare costs associated with language difficulties from birth to 9 years. Language difficulties were defined as scores ≤ 1.25 SDs below the mean on measures of communication (0-3 years) and vocabulary (4-9 years). Participant data were linked to administrative data (Medicare) on non-hospital healthcare attendances and prescription medications. Results: Between 5 to 12% were defined as having a language difficulty at each wave. Two-year healthcare costs were higher for children with language difficulties at each age compared to those without language difficulties, most notably 36% higher (mean $AU206, 95% CI: $90 to $321; p=0.005) at 4-5 years (B cohort) and 29% higher (mean $AU141, 95% CI: $32 to $251; p=0.01) at 8-9 years (K cohort). The majority of costs were attributable to healthcare attendances rather than prescription medications. Two-year government costs ranged from $AU1.2 million at 6-7 years, to $AU12.1 million at 0-1 years when modelled to the Australian population. Six-year healthcare costs increased with the persistence of language difficulties (p=0.002). Conclusions: Language difficulties are associated with substantial excess population healthcare costs in childhood. Healthcare costs increased with the persistence of language difficulties highlighting the importance of early preventative and remedial interventions.||Conference:||Growing Up in Australia and Footprints in Time: The LSAC and LSIC Research Conference||Conference location:||Melbourne, Australia||Keywords:||Children -- Early childhood; Child Development -- Speech and Language; Human Capital -- Health; Income & Finance -- Expenditure and constraints on expenditure||Research collection:||Conference Presentations|
|Appears in Collections:||Conference Presentations|
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