Abstract

Direct support professionals (DSPs) frequently accompany persons with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (IDD) to their health care appointments and could offer valuable insights into potential target areas for health-care improvement. DSPs completed surveys assessing healthcare processes and quality immediately following 118 ambulatory health care encounters involving their patients with IDD. Although DSPs generally judged the quality of health care as good (44%) or excellent (52%), they also observed that physicians directed questions to the DSP that the patient could have answered in 22% of encounters, and noted that physicians failed to ask critical psychosocial information in 24% of encounters. Competency-based training of DSPs around health-care advocacy could significantly improve the quality of health care provided to persons with IDD.

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