Direct service staff and their perceptions of psychotropic medication in non-institutional settings for people with intellectual disability

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Abstract

Previous studies have surveyed a variety of service providers in school and institutional settings, and reported a pervasive lack of education and training with regard to the use of psychotropic medication in people with intellectual disability. Because an increasing number of people with intellectual disability are living in the community and since many of these people receive psychotropic medications, the present study extended research in this area by surveying direct service staff to determine their perceptions, knowledge and opinions with regard to the use of psychotropic medication in non-institutional settings for individuals with developmental disabilities. Consistent with the findings of previous studies, a majority of the 334 respondents in the present study reported that they had not received adequate training in the area of drug treatment. The knowledge and skills deficits of direct service staff appear to represent a significant barrier to the appropriate monitoring and management of pharmacotherapy for individuals with intellectual disability. Therefore, a systematic training programme to educate direct service staff about psychotropic medication needs to be designed, implemented and disseminated on a broad scale.

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