Knowing a person has Down syndrome (DS) alerts us to their increased risk of a range of medical conditions and provides an excellent example of how understanding the aetiology of disability informs medical care. This article provides specific information on the care of a patient with DS, and general principles relevant to the care of anyone with cognitive impairment.
The health and life expectancy of Australians with Down
syndrome has improved dramatically over recent decades,
resulting in more people living into adulthood and
accessing community and hospital based health and social
This article presents information and resources helpful
to general practitioners providing healthcare to patients
who have Down syndrome. Healthcare issues through
the lifespan are explored, the importance of proactive
management is emphasised and strategies are outlined.
Australians with Down syndrome are an interesting and
rewarding group of people with whom to work. They
present us with particular challenges in the way we
provide healthcare and, in doing so, offer us an opportunity
to improve the way we work with other patients who have
cognitive and communication difficulties; chronic, complex
health and social needs; family or paid carers involved
in health management and those who require health
advocacy as a part of healthcare provision.
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