Health surveillance insufficient to meet healthcare needs of people with Down syndrome in Finland study


Researchers in Finland looked at medical problems in a population of people with Down syndrome and compared health surveillance to recommendations in national guidelines.

They looked at case records from the specialist services in primary healthcare and disability services.

They found many age-specific medical and surgical problems, including  congenital heart defects and middle ear infections which were experienced mostly by younger people. Thyroid disease, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease were also found to be frequent among older people

They found psychiatric disorders and behavioural problems in all age groups.

They concluded that health surveillance was insufficient, despite the fact that guidelines were available and they call for a new joint effort by healthcare staff and disability service providers to ensure that the healthcare needs of people with Down syndrome are met.

Healthcare and guidelines: A population-based survey of recorded medical problems and health surveillance for people with Down syndrome, Määttä T et al. in Journal of intellectual and Developmental Disability, 36, 2 , 118-126

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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