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Health care screening for people with mental handicap living in the community.

By D N Wilson and A Haire


OBJECTIVE--To determine what contact people with mental handicap had had with their general practitioner in the previous year; what prescribed drugs they were taking and whether these had been reviewed; when hearing and vision had last been screened; and what medical problems were found on examination. DESIGN--Case series. SETTING-Day centre for adults with mental handicap. SUBJECTS--A balanced sample of 75 of the 150 people attending the day centre. 10 Were excluded because consent was not given. RESULTS--The subjects did not consult their general practitioners more frequently than the general population but were more likely to be taking prescribed drugs, and 57% of these prescriptions had not been reviewed by a doctor. Thirty three people failed vision screening, including 13 who wore glasses. Twenty seven of the 62 who were testable had a hearing impairment. CONCLUSIONS--As only eight out of 65 people examined in the study did not have an appreciable problem brought to light, screening seems to be worth while. Whether such screening needs to be done by a medically qualified person needs further research

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