Korean J Fam Med 2017; 38(6): 327-332  https://doi.org/10.4082/kjfm.2017.38.6.327
General Practitioners’ Perceptions on Clinical Management and Training Needs regarding the Healthcare of Community-Dwelling People with Intellectual Disability: A Preliminary Survey in Singapore
Sreedharan Geetha Sajith*, Yen-Li Goh, Joshua Marcus Wee
Department of General Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Singapore
Sreedharan Geetha Sajith Tel: +65-6389-2000, Fax: +65-6343-7507, E-mail: sreedharan_geetha_sajith@imh.com.sg
Received: January 31, 2017; Revised: April 6, 2017; Accepted: April 7, 2017; Published online: November 20, 2017.
© Korean Academy of Family Medicine. All rights reserved.

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Background: Studies worldwide indicate that people with intellectual disability have high risks of physical and mental morbidities, and poor quality of health care. This study was aimed at determining general practitioners’ perceptions on barriers in clinical assessment and training needs with regard to the healthcare of community-dwelling people with intellectual disability.
Methods: A survey questionnaire was developed specifically for the study through focus group discussions and a literature review. The study was conducted as a cross-sectional anonymous survey of private general practitioners practicing in Singapore. The survey contained questions on their experience and training needs in assessing and treating patients with intellectual disability.
Results: Forty-nine of the 272 questionnaires sent out were returned. The respondents were predominantly male general practitioners working in “solo” practices. For most general practitioners, the proportion of patients with intellectual disability ranged from 1% to 5%. Nearly 90% of general practitioners identified problems in communicating with such patients as an important barrier that affected the quality of assessment of their health conditions. Other barriers identified were behavioral issues and sensory impairments. Only one-third of the general practitioners were confident that they had sufficient knowledge of physical and mental health conditions related to patients with intellectual disability. Three-fourths of the general practitioners believed that further training in this area would be beneficial.
Conclusion: Appropriate interventions to address barriers in assessment and management of patients with intellectual disability with further training for general practitioners may improve the standard of healthcare provided to this population group.
Keywords: General Practitioners; Primary Health Care; Intellectual Disability

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