Preventive health care is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for all people. It is especially important for people with developmental disabilities. People with developmental disabilities may be at increased risk for disease and health conditions because of their disability. Often these conditions can be avoided with proper preventive care and screenings.
Frequently, people visit their health care provider only when they are sick or injured. People also need to visit their doctor when they are well, for a preventive health care check-up. In general, individuals with developmental disabilities should see their health care provider for a check-up about once a year. As a direct support professional, you can help the individuals you support to set up and go to this important appointment.
At a preventive health care check-up, the person you support will have a complete physical exam, which includes tests to make sure that the person’s health is good. The doctor will know what risk factors may make the person more likely to develop a disease or health condition in the future, and will run tests to check for early warning signs of these as well. The doctor should also take time to talk about health concerns or questions you or the individual you support may have.
If the doctor discovers any concerns during the exam, he or she will develop a treatment plan and work with you and the individual you support to help treat and monitor the condition.
Remember, a check-up is a good time for you and the people you support to bring up questions or concerns about their health. Make sure you ask questions until you understand what the doctor is saying. By understanding the doctor’s instructions, you will be able to support individuals as they work to improve their overall health.
As a residential service provider, you have an important role in the planning team process to make sure a person’s health care needs are met. Here are some of the important things the planning team can do:
Many people feel overwhelmed by planning and making the trip to see a doctor. People with developmental disabilities may find it especially challenging to navigate the health care system. As a direct support professional, you can help the individuals you support to make the most of each visit to the doctor. Here are some tips you can follow.
Encourage the individual you support to be honest with her health care providers about her health, and about the family’s history of any health conditions. This will enable her doctor or nurse to conduct screening tests that can catch potential health issues before they become serious.
It is very important to make sure that you and the person you support understand the doctor’s recommendations and instructions on the steps you should take. If you don’t understand what the doctor is saying, ask
questions until you do understand. This is especially important when the doctor prescribes a new medication or identifies a new health concern.
Last updated on June 30th, 2010