Health Care Concerns

Frequently encountered and significant health concerns are summarised by organ system in Table II.
Multiple health concerns are common in DS adults residing in Woodlands.
Whether DS adults are living in the community or in residential care, a program of anticipatory health care screening and early detection of health problems is recommended (Table III).

Rigorous, systematic screening of adults with DS, and other intellectual disabilities with communicative disorders, may minimize the morbidity and long-term complications, thus improving the quality of life. The age of the individual, their birth year, age at time of admission, and the reason for admission are all contributing factors to the types of health care concerns. At the time of admissions, those born between 1949 and 1963 are younger (mean age, 7.3 years) and healthier than those born before 1945.

Almost all DS adults (92%, 36/38) have admissions to Woodlands between 1945 and 1980. This admission pattern reflects the social and political milieu in British Columbia. During the time period evaluated in this study, Woodlands was considered to be the premiere residential school and training centre for individuals with intellectual disabilities.