HELP for behaviours that challenge in adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
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OBJECTIVE: To provide primary care physicians with an understanding of the causes of behaviours that challenge (BTC) in adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), as presented in the 2018 Canadian consensus guidelines for primary care of adults with IDD; to offer a systematic approach to the assessment and treatment of such behaviours; and to link to tools to support these assessments. SOURCES OF INFORMATION: This review elaborates upon guidelines 26 to 29 in the mental health section of the 2018 Canadian consensus guidelines. Several of the authors participated in the development of these guidelines, which were based on literature searches and interdisciplinary input. MAIN MESSAGE: Most adults with IDD are followed by primary care providers but they comprise a small proportion of primary care practices. Unique ways of communicating needs, diagnostic queries, and BTC are common in this population. This complexity can lead to missed diagnoses and inappropriate antipsychotic medication use with attendant risks. This article presents a systematic approach, HELP, to the assessment and treatment of factors of Health, Environment, Lived experience, and Psychiatric conditions that can lead to BTC and includes tools to support these assessments. CONCLUSION: A structured approach to the assessment and treatment of BTC in adults with IDD helps family physicians provide guideline-directed, individualized care to this population. This includes a systematic evaluation using the HELP framework that takes place over multiple visits. A team of health professionals might be needed for optimal care, but these resources are not routinely available across Canada.
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