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Support For General Practitioners When Treating People With Intellectual Disabilities

30 April 2015

General Practitioners (GPs) will receive training to better manage complex behaviours in patients with intellectual disabilities, the Minister for Housing, Disability & Ageing, Martin Foley announced today.

The new online training modules aim to reduce the practice of GPs prescribing medications as a first resort by improving their understanding of complex behaviours in patients with intellectual disabilities.

People with an intellectual disability are known to be one of the most highly medicated groups in society despite there being little evidence to support the use of medication to manage complex behaviours.

The new modules will enhance GP skills and provide them with the tools they need to address underlying conditions by examining behavioural changes in people with intellectual disability.

There is currently little training and no formal guidelines or standards in Victoria to inform and support GPs in their assessment and management in this area. Often the drugs that are prescribed are ineffective for managing behaviour associated with mental illness or pain.

The modules will be available from 25 May 2015 on the website of the Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria at http://www.cddh.monash.org/External Link

The modules have been developed by the Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria and are a direct response to recommendations in the Senior Practitioner’s report, Disability, mental health and medication: Implications for practice and policy (2010).

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Housing, Disability & Ageing, Martin Foley

“This is about giving GPs access to the right information and training, so people with a disability are connected with appropriate professional services and support systems.”

“Medication is only one form of response available to help people with intellectual disabilities who display complex behaviours and there are often others ways to help.”

“GPs have themselves acknowledged they often feel poorly equipped to address the needs of people with intellectual disability, and we hope these modules will give them greater confidence in this complex area.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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