Leo’s Letter: Advancing Quality Health Care

Over the past several months, multiple journal articles outlining the health risks to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) during the pandemic have been published.

The journals have included the New England Journal of Medicine’s Catalyst and The Lancet. In May, Disability and Health Journal released a study article that reviewed COVID-19 outcome data from 12 health jurisdictions.

The article reported findings that there were more severe outcomes for persons with IDD than the general population, including “case-fatality.” Severity of outcomes for those with IDD increased when living in congregate settings, especially when receiving 24-hour nursing care.

Our society, health care providers, and health care systems need to recognize the historical inadequacy that citizens with IDD face.

Other studies have documented the lack of knowledge among health care professionals in treating persons with IDD. Operation House Call (OHC) was developed to address this reality.

OHC presently operates in Massachusetts and Connecticut, relying on donations for much of the program. Recently, we joined with the WITH Foundation, The Arc US, and The Arc of Oregon to develop an educational program for emergency room departments across the country. You can learn more about the program’s resources by visiting their Public Resources page to see some of their learning tools.

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