Perspectives about support challenges facing health workers assisting older adults with and without intellectual disability in rural versus urban settings in Australia

Rafat Hussain , Matthew P. Janicki , Marie Knox, Stuart Wark & Trevor Parmenter (2017): Perspectives about support challenges facing health workers assisting older adults with and without intellectual disability in rural versus urban settings in Australia, Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, DOI: 10.3109/13668250.2017.1326589

Source: Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability

ABSTRACT

Aims: Life expectancy for both sexes in Australia exceeds 80 years, with individuals with intellectual disability also increasingly living into older age. This research aimed to comparatively examine perceptions of staff supporting either older adults or age peers with lifelong intellectual disability.

Methods: This project asked 420 medical, health, and support workers about training adequacy, health services access, and trigger points for premature institutionalisation. This paper is based on a subsample of 196 respondents who provided quantitative and qualitative responses.

Results: There was considerable variation in confidence in supporting ageing individuals, while only 23.7% of doctors reported their training was adequate to support adults ageing with intellectual disability. A lack of services and poor carer health were identified as triggers for premature institutionalisation.

Conclusions: The study revealed key differences in staff perceptions of support provision and training adequacy when comparing ageing individuals with intellectual disability to the general ageing population.

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