How can pharmacists can contribute to safety by improving health outcomes and reducing health inequalities for people with intellectual disabilities?
Source: Pharmacy | Free Full-Text
Author: Bernadette Flood
People with intellectual disabilities are vulnerable in healthcare environments. They experience health and healthcare inequalities, and when admitted to general hospitals are at a greater risk of patient safety incidents. This is well known in specialist services, but less recognized within primary or secondary healthcare. The most significant barriers to safer and better healthcare appear to include ‘invisibility’ of people with intellectual disabilities within health-care systems, widespread lack of staff understanding of intellectual disability, the vulnerabilities of people with intellectual disabilities, and the reasonable adjustment they may need in order to access health-care services. They may be ‘invisible’ to pharmacists in general hospitals. This article aims to raise awareness among those pharmacists and others providing care and support to people with intellectual disabilities in hospital in relation to how pharmacists can contribute to safety. Medication is the main therapeutic intervention in this population. Research is needed to determine the role of pharmacists in improving health outcomes and reducing health inequalities in this vulnerable population group when they are admitted to general hospitals. Full article