Dr. Shahin Shooshtari is a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. She is also a researcher with St.Amant Research Centre in Winnipeg. Dr. Shooshtari’s interdisciplinary program of research is focused on Health and Well-being of Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Session 1: Health of Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Transitioning into Community Settings
Community living of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) has been encouraged to reduce health disparities experienced by this population. However, the shift from specialized care to mainstream care has also been criticized for not adequately meeting the special care needs of this population. The main objective of this study was to assess health and access to healthcare of 45 persons with IDD prior to their transition into community homes in Winnipeg. Data were collected retrospectively by reviewing individual medical charts of persons with IDD to gather information on their heath and healthcare use while living in a long-term care facility. Secondary data analysis was performed on selected health measures based on the Comprehensive Health Assessment Program and the recently updated Canadian consensus health guidelines to provide a description of the pre-transition health of the study group. The health and healthcare use of the study population mostly met the current healthcare recommendations. There were limited data in the medical records for a number of areas that we recommend to be collected as part of routine practice. We also recommend routine use of standard tools available. This was the pre-transition phase of a longitudinal study. By collecting similar information on post-transition, changes in the health status and healthcare use of the study population will be explored.
Session 2: Quality of Life of Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Background. Data on Quality of Life (QoL) can be useful when developing person-centered models of care to improve health and well-being of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Study Objective. The main objective of our study was to measure the QoL of 59 persons with severe IDD living in a long-term care facility in Winnipeg (Canada), prior to their transition into community homes.
Methods. Data on the QoL were collected using the standard tool San Martin Scale. Data were collected by proxy from the long-term care facility staff who were the most knowledgeable persons about the study population. The average score on each QoL dimension was calculated for the entire study population, together with a QoL Index.
Results. The QoL of the study population was in the average range, compared to what was observed for similar populations. Variations were observed in the average scores across the eight QoL dimensions. None of the socio-demographic characteristics of the study population was associated with their QoL.
Implications. This was the pre-transition phase of a longitudinal study. By collecting similar information post-transition, changes in the QoL of the study population will be explored. The routine assessment of QoL should be part of the standard care for persons with IDD. Implications of assessing QoL by proxy will be discussed in accordance with the current debate in the literature.