Table 1.

Recommendations to Improve Healthcare Services for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Involve primary care physicians, other disability professionals, and advocates who can communicate a patient's baseline cognitive, functional, and medical status and the patient's and family's values and perception of quality of life with an inpatient team.
Consider implementing other communication strategies, such as health passports, to provide critical medical and disability-specific information to any new care provider.
Increase health professional and staff awareness and education about the lived experience of individuals with disabilities. Integrate core competencies related to disability into medical school curricula.
Encourage dialogue about ableism in the healthcare system. Providers should ask themselves if the presence of the disability influences their decisions and, if so, why? What is the medical evidence to justify differential treatment?
Create, if not already in place, and engage the disability access (or resource) coordinator or other professional responsible for hospital compliance with Section 504 and the ADA to promote an inclusive, patient-centered care culture.
Ensure that persons with disabilities have a seat at the table, including involvement in hospital policy discussions, ethics committees, and the healthcare workforce.