New training for GPs to help treat people with disabilities

Image of a person in a wheelchair and friend in the park.
08 September 2015

Two people in a parkNew training modules to help general practitioners better respond to complex behaviours of patients with intellectual disabilities are now available online.

The modules address gaps in current knowledge and practice as identified in the Senior Practitioner’s report, which is available on this site: Disability, mental health and medication: Implications for practice and policy (2010).

The four modules aim to reduce the use of medication for behavioural control and offer training to GPs in areas including:

  • assessment of people with intellectual disability presenting with changes in behaviour
  • ways to engage and collaborate with existing services and supports
  • understanding and effectively using available referral pathways
  • prescription of medication where appropriate and where other options have been adequately explored.

People with an intellectual disability are one of the most highly medicated groups in society despite there being little evidence to support the use of medication to manage behaviours of concern.

General practitioners have acknowledged they often feel poorly equipped to address the needs of people with intellectual disability and these modules aim to give them greater confidence in this complex area.

The four modules have been developed by the Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria, funded by the department’s Office of Professional Practice, and can be accessed on their website:
Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria

The modules have been accredited by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners for continuing professional development. They are currently being evaluated by the National Prescribing Service to determine their impact on GPs prescribing practices, with a report expected to be completed in June 2016.

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