To develop and implement an educational programme to improve medical students’ attitudes towards intellectual disabilities. The purpose of this paper is to improve the healthcare outcomes for individuals with intellectual disability.
The development of an educational programme involving actors with an intellectual disability as simulated patients. Scenarios were developed involving basic healthcare interactions. The programme was piloted in three sessions with 45 students. A qualitative analysis of student feedback was then used to develop a student attitude questionnaire for completion pre- and post-educational intervention.
The student attitude questionnaire was completed by 23 different medical students. Two domains were analysed: affect and understanding domain scores, mean difference (95% CI) 3.17(2.41-3.94) p<0.001, knowledge and skills domain scores, mean difference (95% CI) 4.22(3.3-5.14) p<0.001.
Student feedback reveals significant positive changes in affect and understanding, and an improvement in knowledge and skill levels when interacting with people with an intellectual disability following the educational intervention. Some major institutions now offer comprehensive programmes involving people with intellectual disabilities as tutors, and in the role of simulated patients. However, more needs to be done to encourage the increased participation and good practice for all of tomorrow’s doctors to benefit.
Following the publication of recent enquiries into the deaths of people with intellectual disabilities. We know that many of these deaths are premature and potentially preventable. The main failing identified repeatedly is that healthcare staff lack of awareness of the needs of people with intellectual disabilities. This emanates from poor quality and limited curricula time dedicated to intellectual disabilities. There is a need to drastically change the approach to teaching about intellectual disabilities to medical students. All the evidence promotes the involvement of people with intellectual disabilities and their careers in designing and delivering this teaching.
Watkins, L. and Colgate, R. (2016), "Improving healthcare for people with intellectual disabilities: the development of an evidence-based teaching programme", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 10 No. 6, pp. 333-341. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-07-2016-0009Download as .RIS
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