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Development of a Health Assessment Instrument for Adults with Mental Retardation

Klimon, Nancy L. (2007) Development of a Health Assessment Instrument for Adults with Mental Retardation. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This project resulted in the development of a new caregiver-administered health assessment instrument, Let's Get Healthy Together!, for adults with mental retardation who live with their families. The instrument, which consists of 64 questions over 20 pages and has a completion time of about 17 minutes, addresses a wide range of health issues, including oral health, social supports, preventive screenings, diet, exercise and smoking. This project is of public health significance as health disparities exist for those with mental retardation compared to the general population. This instrument can address those disparities on two levels: individually to identify health concerns that may need further attention, and on a large scale to identify population based health issues that may merit intervention on a systemic level. The project was undertaken in cooperation with, and for the benefit of, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Office of Mental Retardation (OMR). The instrument was developed based on a qualitative study of the health issues and risk factors for this population, using focus group and telephone interviews with caregivers and individuals, a literature review, and expert interviews. A pretest, consisting of telephone and expert interviews, was conducted, and a final version of the instrument prepared. The primary finding from the preliminary research done with caregivers was that while most saw no benefit in using a health assessment instrument, a subset of them who later tested the Let's Get Healthy Together! instrument, relayed comments that were very positive overall. The only negative reaction was that the instrument was not comprehensive enough to address the specific clinical needs of someone with Down syndrome. Participants expressed greater concern with systemic issues and barriers, such as the quality of the health care system, than for the individual issues for their family members. The instrument that is presented to OMR addresses the primary health issues and risk factors for adults with mental retardation. Further pretesting, and a comprehensive pilot test, is recommended before implementing the Let's Get Healthy Together! instrument.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Klimon, Nancy
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairJaros, Kenneth Jkjaros@pitt.eduKJAROS
Committee MemberRicci, Edmund Remricci@pitt.eduEMRICCI
Committee MemberPingel, Louispingel@pitt.eduPINGEL
Committee MemberBagnato, Stephenbagnatos@pitt.eduBAGNATOS
Date: 7 February 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 21 November 2006
Approval Date: 7 February 2007
Submission Date: 8 December 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: DrPH - Doctor of Public Health
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: health; health assessment; intellectual disability; mental retardation; public health
Other ID:, etd-12082006-222158
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:09
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:53


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