Children with intellectual disabilities tend to have fewer interactions with GPs or primary healthcare. This is despite the fact they are more likely to have serious medical conditions which require long term supervision. This DCU research collaboration seeks to examine decision making factors in order to help strengthen primary care provision. It investigates non-clinical reasons that GPs may refer children with intellectual disabilities to emergency services.
The results suggest that the GP's perception of the parent's capacity to cope with and manage the illness at home was the strongest predictor of referral. Other factors included requests from parents, and repeat visits from the same patient. Crucially, the study offers a novel examination of the decision making process. The team provides initial evidence for the development of strategies.