People with intellectual disabilities are known to face many inequalities in healthcare that lead to poor health as well as premature and preventable death. They often experience multiple comorbidities, often at a younger age than the wider population, and often these include endocrine disorders. However, many of the barriers they face to accessing timely and appropriate health care are preventable and/or their impact can be reduced. This presentation aims to highlight both the nature of these barriers and the strategies that nurses can use to overcome them. First the presentation will consider the wide range of ability and disability encompassed in the term intellectual disability. It will draw upon relevant literature to identify the prevalence of common endocrine disorders in people with intellectual disabilities. The barriers that may exist to identification of such disorders will also be explored. Literature, personal experience and personal research will be used to discuss the physical, cognitive, communication, economic, ethical, organisational and intrapersonal barriers that may impact upon access to healthcare for people with intellectual disabilities who have endocrine disorders. Strategies that can be used by nurses to facilitate holistic person centred care will be considered and the concept of reasonable adjustments to care will be introduced. In particular the implications for self-management (or supported self-management) of long term conditions will be explored. It will be concluded that nurses working in partnership with others can do much to promote holistic person centred care for people with intellectual disabilities and hence reduce the health inequalities they so often experience. However, this has implications for the development of nurse education and practice and such developments need to be underpinned by a robust evidence base. Potential future developments will thus be proposed.
18 - 21 May 2019
European Society of Endocrinology