Adults With IDD Face Significant Hurdles At The Doctor, Study Finds

New research finds that people with cognitive disabilities are more likely to report worse experiences with healthcare providers. (think stock)

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are more likely than others to say that doctors don’t listen to them, spend enough time with them, or give them easy-to-understand advice.

in a new studyResearchers examined the experiences of more than 22,000 adults nationwide who participated in the 2021 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a federal government survey that asks about people’s experiences with health care.

They found that people with cognitive disabilities, including intellectual and developmental disabilities, were significantly less satisfied overall with their health care services and had worse experiences with providers. The biggest problems reported by people with disabilities had to do with communication with providers and the amount of time they spent with patients with disabilities, according to the study recently published in Disability and Health Journal.

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While previous studies have primarily looked at health care access or providers’ perspectives, the Rutgers University researchers said their findings are some of the first to give a voice to people with disabilities.

The communication problems highlighted by people with disabilities are not only frustrating, the researchers said, but could also lead to poor outcomes.

“Addressing this problem could include incorporating disability competencies into medical education and should also include policies (e.g., increased reimbursement) that reflect the increased time and effort that may be necessary to ensure that the needs of patients are met. disabled patients,” Elizabeth said. Stone, a researcher at Rutgers University who led the study.

Additionally, the researchers said that adults with cognitive disabilities should do more to prepare for interactions with health care providers, including requesting accommodations that could improve their experience.

People with disabilities have long struggled to access quality health care, and research shows that many doctors are not prepared to care for this population in the same way as others.

As a result of the difficulties faced, the National Institutes of Health agreed in September to designate people with disabilities as a health disparity population.

Disability advocates have pushed in recent years to require all medical schools to include specific training on the treatment of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. So far, that effort has been unsuccessful, but the American Medical Association and the American Dental Association pledged last year to work to expand disability training for medical and dental students.

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