Development Disabilities

Primary care physicians have a responsibility to provide treatment and care for adults with developmental disabilities. This population tends to have complex health issues and modified treatment approaches are often required. In an effort to support family physicians, the Department of Family Medicine has contracted Pyra Management Consulting Services Inc. to help create an interactive website that will be hosted by Capital Health and piloted by family physicians caring for adults with developmental disabilities.

This work will build on the evidence-based report, “Consensus guidelines for primary health care of adults with developmental disabilities” (2006), the information collected at consultation workshop sponsored by Dalhousie University and Capital Health concerning how family doctors can be supported in providing primary care to adults with developmental disabilities and the ongoing advice of a steering Committee and family Advisory Committee.

We would like to thank all those involved in creating this website. First we would like to thank the more than 50 professionals and family members who took part in consultation workshops where the website was conceived. We would also like to thank the Family Advisory Team, the Website Committee, Pyra Management, The Family Medicine Department and Capital health’s website team who all worked to see this website to completion. Without their time and commitment the website would not be possible. We would like to thank the 20 Family Physicians who agreed to pilot the site and provide feedback to the website committee. It is through them that we will make it a useful site that Family Physicians will go to when caring for adults with developmental disabilities.

To help you navigate our website here is a brief description of the lay out. On the left of the home page you now see several subcategories related to developmental disabilities. Clicking on these will bring you to an introductory paragraph of this specific section. Also still looking at the home page you will notice a “bar” labelled “links” clicking on this will bring you to ”links” related to the home page. Each subcategory you “click” on will have a “bar” labelled “links” “clicking on this will bring you to specific”links” related to this topic ( for example family resource will have family resource links). On the right of the home page and each subcategory page there will be supporting documents to the specific section you are in. For example the home page has the document “Consensus Guidelines”. 

The home page links and related documents will be where physicians will find most of the medical information selected to help them care for their patients. Guidelines, syndrome specific information and related articles are here. The “office tools” package is still being refined but when available you find it very useful to organize your patient’s visits and charts, collect data from care givers and manage specific situations. This should be available in December 2009. 

There will also be a special section put together by the Dalhousie Pro bono Law Students under the guidance of Archie Kaiser, Professor of Law. This section will describe and simplify the medical legal issues related to developmental disabilities. We anticipate physicians and families will find this useful.

We hope you easily find what you are looking in our website. There truly is a mountain of information on developmental disabilities. This website was designed with the intention of making the climb a little easier. Feedback for improvement is welcomed from all.