Managing the care of adults with Down syndrome

RCGP annual health check guidance

Down syndrome is the most common cause of learning disability in the UK and life expectancy has shown a dramatic increase in the last fifty years. However, people with Down syndrome face significant health issues.

In this blog, GP Matt Hoghton looks at a recent clinical review published in the BMJ, which provides advice and guidance on managing care and support for people with Down syndrome.

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Would you like to write for the Learning Disabilities Elf?


We are looking for people who have skills in reading, appraising and writing about learning disabilities evidence. If that sounds like you, please read more and drop us a line!

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Link between healthcare use and eating drinking and swallowing difficulties in people with learning disabilities


Estimates suggest that dysphagia affects 8% of all adults with learning disabilities and that 15% require some form of mealtime support.

Here we report on a study that set out to look at the association between the need for support with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties and the use of primary and secondary healthcare services.

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Support worker attitudes a key influencer of outcomes for people with learning disabilities, but new scales needed to measure these


Although the research base is small, it does strongly suggest that the attitudes of support workers can be key influencers of outcomes for people with learning disabilities and this would seem to be an entirely reasonable assumption. Here, Louise Phillips looks at a study which set out to not only explore the attitudes of a number of support workers in one service, but also to consider whether existing attitude measurement scales capture the range of attitudes expressed.

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Social approachability behaviour of adults with Williams syndrome tested in observational study

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Adults with Williams syndrome are said to have a highly social personality, but can find it difficult to form and maintain relationships.

Here we report on a recent observational study which compared parent and self-report measures of social behaviour to observations of real life social situations.

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Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programmes reduced stress in mothers of children with disabilities in community sample RCT


Mindfulness is increasingly recognised as an effective way to reduce stress and improve well-being

Here Kate van Dooren looks at a randomised controlled trial of a mindfulness based stress reduction programme with mothers of children with autism and other developmental delays to look at its impact on levels of distress over time.

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Six out of ten GP surgeries are signed up to the Directed Enhanced Scheme in England, but 40% of patients with learning disabilities did not get a health check

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The Directed Enhanced Scheme offers reimbursement to GP surgeries to carry out annual health checks for people with learning disabilities. Here, we report on a cohort study which looked at the impact of the scheme over a three year period.

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People with learning disabilities not getting free flu jabs at GP surgeries according to Mencap survey


This year, for the first time, people with learning disabilities were identified as a clinical risk group in the guidance for flu vaccinations, but a telephone survey carried out by Mencap suggested that many GP surgeries were not offering this free jab.

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Learning Disabilities Elf review of 2014

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As the year draws to a close and we elves gear up for some seasonal duties, we take a look at some of the blogs we have published throughout 2014 and welcome some of our new bloggers.

Also, we will be looking for new contributors in 2015, so look out for more news of that in the new year.

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Irish Minister suggests use of undercover video as part of inspections to combat abuse in residential services for people with learning disabilities


In the week following the publication of the Bubb report after the appalling scenes uncovered at Winterbourne View, a team in Ireland uncover similar abuses in a care centre in Mayo. Here we look at what they found and the initial response of the authorities there.

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