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3 11 Care of People with Intellectual Disability


  • As a general practitioner (GP) caring for adult patients with intellectual disability, you should:
  • Recognise the importance of the principle of fairness and equality, irrespective of the innate abilities of each patient
  • Recognise that in every consultation you must make the effort to identify, monitor and review the progress of all patients who have difficulties with communication, social relationships and managing their own affairs
  • Recognise that respect for diversity may involve challenging the values of the local community and society in general
  • Be aware of the atypical morbidity and mortality prevalent in patients with intellectual disability and the atypical presentation of acute and chronic physical and psychiatric disorders
  • Be aware of the additional skills of diagnosis and examination needed in patients unable to describe or verbalise symptoms and where to obtain specialist advice and help
  • Be aware of the effects intellectual disability has on the life history  of the patient and family, particularly at times of transition
  • Be aware of the effects intellectual disability has on the aging process, particularly in the development and recognition of dementia
  • Understand the value of  conducting regular (annual) health checks
  • Appreciate the role of your own patients in the evolution of services for patients with intellectual disability. All mainstream services should offer patients with intellectual disability professional resources and facilities that are appropriate and tailored to their needs

Knowledge and skills guide

This section contains the learning outcomes for the 'Care of People with Intellectual Disability' curriculum module.

These are grouped into 12 core areas of competence concerned with the tasks you will undertake as a general practitioner when delivering care to people in your community.

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Case discussion

This section contains a scenario and questions for reflection which help to illustrate the learning points in this module.

Amy lives in a residential home with 40 other residents, supported by a staff some of whom are permanent and experienced and some of whom are employed by an agency for periods of weeks or months. She has moderate intellectual disability and attends a local training centre five days each week.....     

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How to learn this area of practice

This section includes suggested activities and strategies for developing the competences you will require.     

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Useful learning resources

This section provides suggestions for further reading and other resources to help you in your training, including books, journal articles and web resources.     

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