Study: Patients With Learning Disabilities Receive Lower Quality of Care

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Patients with learning disabilities tend to experience poorer care quality, according to a study published in Health Services and Delivery Research.

Researchers used questionnaires, interviews, observations and safety incidence monitoring practices to gather data over 21 months to observe the healthcare environment for patients with learning disabilities.

They found good care practices were not always implemented when working with patients with learning disabilities, mainly seeing "delays and omissions of treatment and basic care."

The study identifies four main barriers to proper patient care: patients not being identified as having a learning disability, limited understanding of vulnerabilities or specific services these patients may need, lack of presence of a caretaker, and staff misunderstanding the role of the caretaker and a lack of defined responsibility and accountability for care of the patient.

The authors suggest further research is needed to identify factors that are most effective in improving care quality for patients with learning disabilities.

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