Table of Contents
International Journal of Family Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 312492, 9 pages
Research Article

Health and Functional Status of Adults with Intellectual Disability Referred to the Specialist Health Care Setting: A Five-Year Experience

1Centre for Education and Research on Ageing, Concord Hospital and Sydney University, Concord, NSW 2139, Australia
2Developmental Assessment Service, St. George Hospital, Kogarah, NSW 2217, Australia

Received 30 November 2010; Revised 16 June 2011; Accepted 9 August 2011

Academic Editor: Henny Lantman

Copyright © 2011 L. Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aims and Method. The Developmental Disability Database in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at a metropolitan hospital was audited for observations on adults with Intellectual Disability living in the local region (total population 180,000) who were seen in an identified multidisciplinary specialist clinic, during 2006–2010. Results. There were 162 people (representing half the known number of adults with Intellectual Disability living in the region): 77 females, 85 males, age range 16–86 years. The most common complex disabilities referred to the specialists in this clinic were epilepsy (52%), challenging or changing behavior (42%) and movement disorders (34%). Early onset dementia was a feature of the group (7%). The prevalence of prescription of medications for gastro-oesophageal reflux was high (36%) and similar to the numbers of people taking psychotropic medications. The rates of chronic cardiovascular disease (2%), chronic respiratory disease (10%) and generalised arthritis (11%) were low overall, but did rise with increasing age. Conclusions. Complex neurological disabilities are common, and chronic medical illnesses are uncommon in adults with Intellectual Disability referred to specialist clinicians in this region. A combined, coordinated, multidisciplinary clinic model addresses some of the barriers experienced by adults with Intellectual Disability in the secondary health system.