Roles of General Practitioners in the Provision of Health Care Services for People with Intellectual Disabilities: A National Census in Taiwan
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Aims The aims of the present study were to explore the perceptions of general practitioners (GPs) in the provision of health care services for people with intellectual disabilities and to analyse GPs' priorities in the delivery of health care services to this group of people in Taiwan. Methods The study employed a cross-sectional design and was conducted by a census method, the aim being to collect information from all GPs in Taiwan. A questionnaire was mailed out, between 10 April 2006 and 16 June 2006, and the responses provided by 331 GPs (response rate = 16) were included in the analysis. Results The results showed that most of the respondents did not have sufficient experience to deal with patients with intellectual disabilities and lacked adequate knowledge about intellectual disabilities. Indeed, respondents expressed the need for on-the-job training in the field of intellectual disabilities and generally agreed that their role in providing health care services for people with intellectual disabilities was important. However, they were generally not satisfied with the achievements of their role on health care issues. The study highlighted that many issues need to be prioritized for people with intellectual disabilities in relation to policy planning at different health care stages (primary, secondary and tertiary health care). The results also revealed that those senior GPs with considerable experience in treating people with intellectual disabilities were more likely satisfied with their role in providing health care for this group of people. Conclusions It is concluded that Taiwanese health and welfare authorities need to focus more carefully on issues concerning deficiencies in the training of GPs, and to employ appropriate strategies to address health care issues raised in the present study so as to improve the quality of care for people with intellectual disabilities.
Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities