Patients with chronic mental illness are highly vulnerable to chronic respiratory problems. We examined the influence of mental disability on respiratory infection-related utilization risk in individuals with and without mental disabilities. A population-based, retrospective cohort design and two-part model were used to analyze respiratory infection-related utilization in individuals with MDs (MD group) and a matched reference group. The respiratory infection-related utilization rate in one year was lower in the MD group (53.8%) than in the reference group (56.6%). The odds ratios (ORs) were significantly higher among individuals with profound MDs (aOR = 1.10; 95% CI 1.07–1.14) and those with a history of dental cavities (aOR = 1.16; 95% CI: 1.13–1.19) or periodontal disease (aOR = 1.22; 95% CI: 1.19–1.26) after controlling for covariables. The average number of visits was higher in the MD group (5.3) than in the reference group (4.0). The respiratory infection-related utilization rate and average number of visits were significantly higher in the mild, moderate and severe disabled groups with a history of periodontal disease, respectively, than that of the reference group. In conclusion, healthcare authorities must develop an incentive program to prevent respiratory infections among individuals with MDs.
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