Improving Medical Care for Those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

January 31, 2022

Patients with IDD Often Avoid Check Ups and Preventative Care 

SafeMinds Shares recently featured a brief Community Shares report on a new study which demonstrated that doctors know very little about the Americans with Disabilities Act and the accommodations they should be providing their patients with disabilities under the law. Fortunately, this issue is gathering much needed attention. A new partnership between the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) and two patient safety organizations (PSOs) was launched last week to improve care for patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). By using lessons learned for improving patient safety based on PSO data analysis, the group customized tools and training to help clinicians enhance the service of patients with IDD. Sadly, the PSO data showed that many patients with IDD avoid regular checkups and preventative care because primary care physicians lack experience treating them. Consequently, urgent care and emergency rooms are the most common care settings for people with IDD. After having frank discussions between practitioners and patient’s parents, the group developed evidence-based solutions to educate and support providers who treat patients with IDD. The biggest development from these discussions was the creation of a patient safety brief that gave suggestions to medical practices on scheduling, exam room setup, care provision, and staff preparations. In the end, the group was proud of their effort and approach for improving medical care for patients with IDD.  


Original Article 

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