Surrey Place Centre launches new program developing resources and tools for primary care providers

Bridging gaps between research and practice in the primary care of adults living with
intellectual and developmental disabilities
Surrey Place Centre launches new program developing resources and tools
for primary care providers

May 1, 2018, Toronto –Research involving adults living with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) reveals gaps between their health needs and the primary care they often receive. These gaps can lead to hospitalization and repeat emergency department visits. Appropriate and timely primary care can prevent physical and mental health conditions from developing or becoming more severe, and offer continuity of care and a more person-centred health care experience.

It is important that family physicians and other primary care providers have access to information about how to adapt health care to the specific needs of adults living with IDD. Navigating health care can be challenging for young adults with IDD who are transitioning from pediatric care to an adult healthcare system that is less oriented to their needs. Increased training and education of primary care providers in identifying physical and mental health needs and in proactive transition planning enable them to play an important role in these transitions.

Adults with IDD should receive primary care that meets their specific health and developmental needs. Surrey Place Centre is committed to bridging the gaps between research and practice in primary care for adults with IDD and as a result has launched a new program that develops, publishes and promotes clinical practice guidelines, tools and other resources for primary care providers. The Developmental Disabilities Primary Care Program, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ministry of Community and Social Services, will serve as a credible online resource for primary care providers.

The launch of this program coincides with the publication of the Primary care of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities: Canadian consensus guidelines in the April 2018 issue of the Canadian Family Physician journal. These guidelines offer important background regarding specific physical and mental health care needs of adults with IDD and recommendations for patient and caregiver-centred approaches to care; preventative care assessments; and interventions. The guideline recommendations are based on recent Canadian population-based data, empirical research, clinical knowledge, as well as knowledge of the contexts of care of adults with IDD. Moreover, the experience of adults with IDD and their caregivers was also included in developing the recommendations.

Developing and disseminating online resources for family physicians will help them to care for adults living with IDD and meet their physical and mental health care needs. However, improving care will require addressing further gaps in research, developing more practice tools and enhancing the education and awareness of IDD in the health professional curricula such as medicine, nursing, social work and other allied health professionals. The Developmental Disabilities Primary Care Program of Surrey Place Centre will continue to bridge the gaps between clinical guidelines and practice.

For more information, please visit: http://ddprimarycare.surreyplace.ca/.

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