The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the difficulties patients with intellectual disabilities face when they present to a general hospital with ambiguous symptoms and highlights the importance of adequate training for general staff in caring for people with learning disabilities.
The authors describe the pathway of a person with a learning disability and mental health problems from A&E, through a general hospital, to discharge and the problems encountered in terms of diagnostic clarity and subsequent treatment.
Delay in recognising a psychiatric cause for his symptoms and wrongly attributing his symptoms to his learning disability may have led to a protracted admission and invasive tests.
Education of healthcare professionals and proactive liaison work can help improve outcomes for people with intellectual disabilities when they are admitted to generic services.
Walder, A., Green, R. and Soni, S. (2014), "Avoiding delays in diagnosis: the importance of proactive liaison and education of staff in the general hospital", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 8 No. 6, pp. 399-402. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-04-2014-0012
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