The Impact of Repeated Health Checks for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

Kathy Lowe, David Felce, Helen Felce, Frank Dunstan, Helen Houston, Glyn Jones, Janet Felce, Michael Kerr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: Background An earlier study ( Baxter et al. 2006 ) found that a structured health check conducted in primary care identified clinically significant previously unrecognized morbidity among adults with intellectual disabilities. The aim here was to examine whether follow-up health checks would identify equally significant newly identified morbidity and to investigate this as a function of the interval between health checks. Method Adults with intellectual disabilities who had had an initial health check (n?=?108) participated: group 1 (n?=?39) had a repeat health check an average of 28?months later, group 2 (n?=?36) had a repeat health check an average of 44?months later and group 3 (n?=?33) did not have a subsequent health check. Thirty participants in group 1 had a second repeat health check an average of 14?months after the first repeat. An audit of the results of the health check established whether morbidity was newly identified. Information was collected on each participant's age, gender, place of residence, skills, challenging behaviour, social abilities, psychiatric status and perceived health. Comparisons within groups over time or between groups at a point in time were made using non-parametric statistics. Results A similar number of newly identified health problems were found at the repeat health check compared to the initial check. The nature of needs identified was also similar. There was no association between the number of new needs identified at the repeat health check and the interval between it and the initial check. The perceived health of participants receiving health checks tended to decline. Conclusions As the level of new need revealed by repeated checks at even the shortest interval since the previous check studied here (mean?=?14?months) was as high as that found by the initial check, annual health checking could be a justifiable intervention for this population. Decline in perceived health may represent more accurate assessment by carers following feedback from the health checks
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585 - 596
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2008


  • health checks
  • health promotion
  • intellectual disability
  • primary care


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