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Avoiding delays in diagnosis: the importance of proactive liaison and education of staff in the general hospital

Anna Walder (CT3 in Psychiatry, based at East London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK)
Robert Green (Bartshealth NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK)
Sujata Soni (ST5 in Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability, based at East London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK)

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities

ISSN: 2044-1282

Article publication date: 28 October 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

Education of healthcare professionals and proactive liaison work can help improve outcomes for people with intellectual disabilities when they are admitted to generic services.

Keywords

Citation

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

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited