Health advocacy is a vital step to achieving human rights for people with ID

By Claire Brolan, MA
School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Australia

There is lack of research that focuses on the importance of health advocacy to improve the health outcomes of and for people with intellectual disability (ID).

What did you do in your research?
We wanted to understand perceptions and experiences parents and support workers of adults with ID had related to advocacy in south-east Queensland, Australia. During the telephone interviews we asked questions about the meaning of advocacy, what an effective advocate does and barriers to advocacy.

What did you find out?
“Speaking up” for the person with ID was important to parent and support worker roles. Accessing quality health care was one of the main concerns as well as advocating across other areas to negotiate wider psychosocial needs. The role of advocating was viewed as multidimensional, depending if the advocate was a parent or support worker. Parental advocacy was driven by ‘caring’ while support worker advocacy was influenced by the ‘duty of care.’

What are the take-home messages?
Parents and support workers play a significant role in advocating for individual with ID. On a system-level, health advocacy for people with ID is extremely important in order to enable their right to health and other inter-related human rights. The right to health is a human right and the governments need to include people with ID when developing a national health-care strategies.

To learn more about these findings contact
Claire Brolan.

Full Journal Article
Brolan, C.E., Boyle, F.M., Dean, J.H., Taylor Gomez, M., Ware, R.S., and Lennox, N.G. (2012). Health advocacy: a vital step in attaining human rights for adults with intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 56(11), 1087-1097.