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Previously unidentified morbidity in patients with intellectual disability

Kerr, Michael Patrick, Felce, David John, Baxter, Helen Ann, Jones, G and Lowe, K 2006. Previously unidentified morbidity in patients with intellectual disability. British journal of general practice 56 (523) , pp. 93-98.

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Background Adults with a learning disability frequently have unmet health needs. The cause for this is complex and may be related to difficulties in accessing usual primary care services. Health checks have been widely recommended as a solution to this need. Aim To determine the likelihood that a structured health check by the primary care team supported by appropriate education would identify and treat previously unrecognised morbidity in adults with an intellectual disability. Design of study Individuals were identified within primary care teams and a structured health check performed by the primary care team. This process was supported by an educational resource. Face-to-face audit with the team was performed 3 months following the check. Setting Forty general practices within three health authorities in south and mid-Wales participated. They had a combined registered patient population of 354 000. Method Health checks were conducted for 190 (60%) of 318 identified individuals; 128 people moved, died, withdrew from the study, or refused to participate. Results Complete data were available on 181 health checks; 51% had new needs recognised, of whom 63% had one health need, 25% two health needs, and 12% more than two. Sixteen patients (9%) had serious new morbidity discovered. Management had been initiated for 93% of the identified health needs by the time of audit. This study is the first to identify new disease findings in a primary care population and the likelihood that such disease will be treated. Conclusions The findings reflect a concern that current care delivery leaves adults with an intellectual disability at risk of both severe and milder illness going unrecognised. Health checks present one mechanism for identifying and treating such illness in primary care.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Publisher: Royal coll general practitioners
ISSN: 0960-1643
Last Modified: 25 Dec 2017 20:43

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