Care pathways for people with intellectual disability
This section provides detailed clinical guidance for each stage of an intellectual disability mental health care pathway including:
- assessment and diagnosis
- treatment, and
- transfers of care (discharge and transitions between services).
The information is designed to highlight:
- key considerations for people with intellectual disability as they seek support for their mental health,
- key questions you may have as a professional, and
- actions you can take to successfully work with people with intellectual disability and their support networks.
Information applicable to all service types is provided, in addition to considerations for specific services including primary care, community mental health services, emergency departments, and inpatient services.
While aimed at mainstream professionals, specialist intellectual disability mental health professionals may also find the information in this section useful or wish to provide it to mainstream colleagues.
Also see the Developing care pathways for people with intellectual disability section for information on how to create localised pathways for your service.
Equipping people to navigate care pathways
You can help equip people with intellectual disability to navigate and self-advocate across a care pathway through:
- providing accessible information about services and pathways tailored to each person
- being aware of supports with experience in intellectual disability mental health in the local community
- connecting people with peer/support groups in their local community.
- discussing the known challenges with people and what they can do to manage barriers e.g. if a referral is not accepted, ask for other appropriate services.
- regular contact and follow-up to discuss any challenges
- seeking advice from specialist intellectual disability mental health services when additional assistance is required.
Professionals may also like to refer to:
- 3DN’s Intellectual Disability Mental Health Core Competency Framework Manual which describes the specific skills and attributes mental health professionals require to provide quality services to people with intellectual disability. There is also an accompanying practical Toolkit.
- 3DN's Intellectual Disability Health Education which has courses to increase your knowledge, skills and confidence around intellectual disability health. These courses can be accessed for free through My Health Learning on HETI for NSW Health staff members, or for a small fee for other professionals.
- For a list of specialist health services for people with intellectual disability see Specialist intellectual disability services.