Background Communication styles and communication difficulties may
impact on the ability of general practitioners to provide best
possible health care, particularly for patients with intellectual
and other developmental disabilities.
Objective To highlight potential difficulties GPs may face in consultations
with adult patients with an intellectual disability and to
raise awareness among GPs of the different communication
methods used by people with intellectual disabilities. Current
recommendations for improving communication with this
marginalised group and practical issues in implementing these
recommendations are also discussed.
Discussion People with intellectual disabilities have different communication
abilities, using a range of different styles as a group, as well as
on an individual basis. They may use speech, augmentative and
alternative communication strategies, or visual or behavioural
cues to indicate their wants, needs or feelings. Improved
collaboration between GPs, patients, and patients' support
people, is encouraged to develop an individualised approach to
communication with each patient and to promote best possible
health outcomes and patient satisfaction.
Download the PDF for the full article.
Download article PDF