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What difficulties do people with mild intellectual disabilities experience when seeking medical help from their GP? A qualitative study.

Oosterveld-Vlug, M., Oldenkamp, M., Mastebroek, M., Boeije, H. What difficulties do people with mild intellectual disabilities experience when seeking medical help from their GP? A qualitative study. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities: 2020, 34(1), 178-189
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Background
People with intellectual disabilities often have low health literacy as a result of their limited language comprehension. The aim of this study was to explore the difficulties Dutch people with intellectual disabilities experience during the process of considering and seeking medical help from their GP. The study was intended as input for an online intervention supporting health literacy.

Methods
A qualitative study, in which 12 semi-structured interviews were conducted with people with mild intellectual disabilities and 4 with relatives of people with mild intellectual disabilities. The interviews were analysed following the principles of thematic analysis.

Results
Difficulties were experienced in the following activities: assessing and proactively reacting to health complaints, processing health information, communicating with a GP and retaining information from the consultation. Support workers and relatives play an important role in all these activities.

Conclusions
To increase the capacity of people with intellectual disabilities to manage their health and seek care from their GP, it is important to support them in the activities they find difficult. Recommendations resulting from the study have been incorporated in an online intervention.