How DispatchHealth Is Improving Healthcare for People With Intellectual Disabilities

Dr. Phil Mitchell
Medically reviewed by Dr. Phil MitchellAugust 12th, 2019
Intellectual Disabilities

Traditional emergency rooms (ERs) and urgent care centers are conventionally designed to meet the needs of the average American. While this benefits the majority, it may oftentimes overlook the special needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since these individuals often face cognitive and communication challenges, finding affordable and on-demand healthcare can be a struggle. There’s one company, however, that is taking leaps and bounds to minimize these barriers; and that company is DispatchHealth. Bringing high-quality healthcare into the home, DispatchHealth is opening doors for those struggling to find a convenient medical care option. To understand the positive impact that accessible, in-home healthcare can have on those with intellectual disabilities, let’s take a closer look at the everyday challenges they face.

What Are Intellectual Disabilities?

To recognize the healthcare barriers those with intellectual disabilities must face on a daily basis, it’s essential to consider the surrounding environmental, behavioral, and physical challenges. Characterized by significant limitations in cognitive function and adaptive behavior, intellectual disabilities can affect a person’s ability to learn, reason, solve problems, and acquire social and practical life skills. This can sometimes make it difficult to manage even the simplest day-to-day tasks. And, in some cases, people with intellectual disabilities need third-party care from a family member who is familiar with the disability or a trained caregiver. When it comes to accessing on-demand healthcare, these barriers may seem insurmountable.

Healthcare Barriers for Those With Intellectual Disabilities

Over the years, healthcare access for those with physical disabilities has improved. However, poor resources, insufficient communication, and other challenges have made access to on-demand healthcare an ever-present issue for those with intellectual disabilities. And, the failure to create equal access opportunities to on-demand healthcare continues to cause inequities for those with comorbidities. Two of the biggest healthcare barriers for those with intellectual disabilities include:

Communication Barriers

Individuals with intellectual disabilities may face verbal and cognitive limitations when it comes to communicating their personal healthcare needs. In fact, these cognitive challenges can even affect a person’s ability to recognize that they have a health issue. In a medical setting, these communication barriers can isolate, frustrate, and cause anxiety for the patient, not to mention make it difficult for the practicing physician to properly diagnose the ailment. For nonverbal persons, the discomfort and pain caused by an injury or illness can even be dismissed as a behavioral issue due to ineffective communication.

Lack of Sensitivity & Accessibility

Structured routines and familiar environments are important for some people with impaired cognitive and adaptive behaviors. Removing or disrupting these routines can elicit fear, panic, and agitation—making transportation to a local ER challenging. Waiting in an overstuffed, cold reception area can also trigger these anxieties. Even if a local healthcare center is easy to get to, it may not have a trained and knowledgeable medical professional who has the specific skills and manner necessary to put a patient with an intellectual disability at ease.

DispatchHealth Is the Solution

The healthcare industry is making leaps and bounds in creating strategies that will provide easy access to on-demand medical care for those with intellectual disabilities. And, one of the best solutions is at-home medical care. DispatchHealth offers this type of on-demand healthcare for people of all ages, performing medical examinations and treatments in the comfort of their homes. By reducing stress related to transportation and anxiety triggered by exposure to a new environment, DispatchHealth ensures that patients are comfortable and treated with the utmost care and sensitivity. Available seven days a week, 365 days a year, our medical services are convenient and can be requested via phone, mobile app, or on the website. Within a few hours, our dispatched medical professionals will meet you at your home or place of need. These teams include a physician assistant or nurse practitioner, and a DispatchHealth medical technician (DHMT) and on-call physician, so you can trust that you will receive well-rounded care. Our medical professionals also have 70 percent of the tools and technologies found in an ER and spend on average 45 minutes with every patient. This gives us time to understand your symptoms and concerns, ensuring you receive a top-notch medical examination. For those with intellectual disabilities, this attention to detail will help reduce communication barriers. During the examination, our teams can diagnose, treat, and prescribe antibiotics. And, to ensure continuity of care, a detailed report is provided to each patient’s primary care physician, assisted living community, and/or home health agency. Best of all, DispatchHealth will accept most major insurance plans, making our on-demand service affordable. Serving over 80,000 patients across the market, DispatchHealth has significantly improved on-demand healthcare access for those with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, and other existing health issues. When it comes to affordable and convenient medical attention, you can put your trust in DispatchHealth.

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