The general practice care of people with intellectual disability: barriers and solutions

J Intellect Disabil Res. 1997 Oct:41 ( Pt 5):380-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.1997.tb00725.x.


A questionnaire exploring general practitioners' (GPs') perceptions of the barriers and solutions to providing health care to people with intellectual disability was sent to 912 randomly selected GPs throughout Australia. A response rate of 58% was obtained. Results indicated that numerous barriers compromise the quality of health care able to be provided to people with intellectual disability. Communication difficulties with patients and other health professionals, and problems in obtaining patient histories stood out as the two most significant barriers. A range of other barriers were identified, including GPs' lack of training and experience, patients' poor compliance with management plans, consultation time constraints, difficulties in problem determination, examination difficulties, poor continuity of care, and GPs' inadequate knowledge of the services and resources available. General practitioners also suggested numerous solutions to these barriers, and emphasized the need for increased opportunities for education and training in intellectual disability. The GPs showed an overwhelming willingness to be involved in further education. Other major solutions included increasing consultation duration or frequency, proactively involving families and carers in patients' ongoing health care, and increasing remuneration.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards*
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services / supply & distribution*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workforce