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Has teaching about intellectual disability healthcare in Australian medical schools improved? A 20-year comparison of curricula audits

journal contribution
posted on 15.11.2020, 23:51 by JN Trollor, C Eagleson, B Ruffell, Jane Tracy, JJ Torr, S Durvasula, Teresa Iacono, RC Cvejic, N Lennox
© 2020 The Author(s). Background: People with intellectual disability (ID) have multiple and complex health needs, more frequent healthcare episodes, and experience poorer health outcomes. Research conducted two decades ago showed that medical professionals were lacking in the knowledge and skills required to address the complex needs of this patient group. The aim of the current study was to determine whether Australian undergraduate medical schools that offer ID health education content had changed the amount and nature of such teaching over this period. Methods: Identical or equivalent questionnaire items were compared across eight Australian medical schools that participated in curricula audits conducted in 1995 (referred to as T1) and 2013/14 (T2). The audits were of the nature of the ID content, methods used to teach it, and who taught it. Results: There was no significant difference in the number of hours of compulsory ID content offered to medical students at T2 (total = 158.3 h; median = 2.8 h per ID unit) compared with T1 (total = 171 h; median = 2.5 h). At T2 compared with T1, units with ID content taught in the area of general practice had increased (2 units; 3.6% to 7 units; 16.3%), while decreases were seen in paediatrics (22 units; 40.0% to 10 units; 23.3%) and psychiatry (10 units; 18.2% to 4 units; 9.3%). The number of schools using problem- and/or enquiry-based learning rose to six at T2 from one at T1. Inclusive teaching practices (people with ID develop or deliver content) in compulsory/elective units had increased at T2 (10 units; 23.3%) compared with T1 (6 units; 10.9%), but direct clinical contact with people with ID had decreased (29 units; 52.7% to 11 units; 25.6%). Conclusions: Overall, little progress has been made to address the gaps in ID education for medical students identified from an audit conducted in 1995. Renewal of ID content in medical curricula is indicated as a key element in efforts to improve workforce capacity in this area and reduce barriers to care, with the aim of reversing the poor health outcomes currently seen for this group.

Funding

This research was funded by the NSW Government Family and Community Services, Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care. The funding body did not have any role in the design, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, in the writing of the manuscript, or decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

History

Publication Date

21/09/2020

Journal

BMC Medical Education

Volume

20

Issue

1

Article Number

321

Pagination

10p. (p. 1-10)

Publisher

BioMed Central

ISSN

1472-6920

Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

Licence

Exports