Background: This research identifies factors affecting why some adults with intellectual disability (AWIDs) consult their general practitioner (GP) more than others. Little is known about these factors, despite AWIDs having higher health needs and reduced longevity. Current barriers to accessing health care need to be understood and overcome to achieve improved health outcomes.
Methods: A secondary analysis of data obtained from a stratified randomised sample of AWIDs participating in a cluster randomised trial of hand held health records. The number of GP consultations was obtained retrospectively for the year preceding initial health interviews from GP records. AWIDs and their carers were given separate health interviews using identical/adapted questions where possible.
Results: Two hundred and one AWIDs and or their carers from 40 practices participated (response rate 64.6%) with GP consultation data extracted for 187 AWIDs. Overall consulting levels were low, 3.2 per annum for women and 2.2 for men. Increased age, gender (women) and type of carer (paid) were all significantly associated with increased consultations. Carers reporting health problems, medications reported by AWIDs, medications recorded in GP records, and pain reported by AWIDs were also significant factors affecting consultations to GP practices after adjustment for age and type of carer.
Conclusions: Overall consultation rates were lower than expected, and affected by age, gender and type of carer. Targeted interventions are needed to improve attendance and promote health.