Audit and comprehensive health assessment programme in the primary healthcare of adults with intellectual disability: a pilot study

J Intellect Disabil Res. 2001 Jun;45(Pt 3):226-32. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2788.2001.00303.x.


International research has demonstrated significant shortcomings in the health of adults with intellectual disability (ID). Because general practitioners (GPs) are the main providers of primary healthcare for this population, strategies to improve general practice care are an important aspect of rectifying these shortcomings. The present pilot study aimed to determine the effect of various interventions on health maintenance activities and to assess their acceptability to GPs, with a view to informing larger scale studies. The GPs were recruited through an earlier questionnaire-based postal survey. The GPs identified all their adult patients with ID, then obtained consent for participation from three patients randomly selected by the investigators. The GPs completed two self-evaluation forms and case note audits 12 months apart, read a synopsis of the relevant literature provided by the researchers, and completed a comprehensive health assessment (CHA) of their three patients. Forty-five GPs agreed to participate in the CHA programme (CHAP), and 15 completed the project. Thirty-eight patients completed the project. The number of patient-GP dyads who completed the project was too small to demonstrate statistically significant changes in health issues over time. The GPs found that the synopsis of the literature was the best intervention for increasing knowledge and was also the most practical to use in general practice. The CHAP was the intervention that prompted the most action from the GP which would not have been undertaken otherwise. The CHAP appeared to provide a superior review process compared to the other interventions used in the present study. The numbers of health maintenance activities found to be overdue and the number of health issues detected as a result of the process were considerable. The CHAP served as a communication tool and an educative instrument, providing a basis for future studies and strategies to improve the general practice care of adults with ID.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Comprehensive Health Care*
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Medical Audit*
  • Multiphasic Screening
  • Primary Health Care*