Health care needs of people with disabilities are becoming more prominent within our national discourse, yet research demonstrates that these individuals often lack insurance coverage and access to necessary services.
Misperceptions and stereotypes surrounding disability may deter individuals from seeking care, while additional challenges include:
Like everyone, disabled individuals require preventive disability services Melbourne medical care to decrease the risk of health conditions or impairments that might interfere with their ability to complete daily activities and remain healthy. They require access to community-based preventive services like immunization programs, breast, cervical and cancer screening as well as oral health and general physical examinations for increased protection.
However, disabled people tend to utilize these services at lower levels than expected due to structural factors, including ableism and stigma; an inadequate workforce in health sectors; lack of information regarding disability issues; poor access to facilities; and poverty which have an indirect influence on health outcomes.
Recent research indicated that factors including gender, marital status, education level, income level, urbanization of residence area, premium-based payroll and catastrophic illness/injury status are strongly related to utilization of adult preventive health services by persons with intellectual disabilities. Yet lower usage was observed among those with severe levels of intellectual disability - suggesting the need for comprehensive approaches to community health promotion that includes disability-specific interventions.
People with disabilities face many barriers to health and health care that are drawing national consideration, with new research shining a light on those specific challenges they experience when accessing health promotion and disease prevention services, as well as medical treatment that meets their needs.
Women who communicate using American Sign Language often report being less likely to receive regular gynecological examinations and screening for sexually transmitted diseases than women without disabilities, possibly due to doctors not believing these women are sexually active.
Health care professionals need access to comprehensive training on how to ensure physical and programmatic accessibility for people with disabilities, and information about disability cultural competency. NCD has identified recommendations designed to meet this need; for example, requirements that medical schools and professional organizations certify or endorse staff competence to deliver accessible healthcare should be included in future proposals for comprehensive health care reform.
Rehabilitation services must be available to all disabled individuals, which means incorporating disability into mainstream development in their community and providing specialized services like physical, occupational, speech and social integration interventions as well as prosthetics.
Physical medicine and rehabilitation, more commonly referred to as PM&R, is a medical specialty dedicated to restoring function, independence, and quality of life for disabled patients through integrated care services. A physiatrist specializes in rehabilitation.
Psychological counseling is an integral component of rehabilitation. Its goal is to assist the patient in managing distressing emotions and improving overall mental health, while offering support to family members and caregivers. Psychological counseling may be needed due to disabilities caused by accidents, diseases or injuries; such problems often result in emotional, social and relationship difficulties for those living with disabilities as they adjust to new lives and relationship changes.
End of life care
Due to advancements in medical care, people with intellectual disability (ID) are living longer. Therefore, it is imperative that they receive high quality end of life care; individuals and their families should have their wishes honored at this difficult time.
Presently, many ID care services do not have an established palliative care service. Health professionals do not refer their patients regularly enough for palliative care services and have limited knowledge and experience with it; further education on palliative care and pain management is therefore necessary.
People with ID often do not enjoy the right to dignity due to negative perceptions that portray them as incapable of making decisions independently. This contradicts with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which stipulates that we all possess inherent value regardless of level of intelligence or functioning ability and this should be respected at all times, including at death.