Autism spectrum disorders: physical health care in a low secure forensic setting
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Autism spectrum disorders: physical health care in a low secure forensic setting

Marlene Martelize Kelbrick Specialist registrar, General adult psychiatry, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust
Jane Radley Consultant psychiatrist, St Andrew’s Healthcare, Northampton
Syeda Shaherbano Associate specialist, St Andrew’s, Learning disability in the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust
Leanne Cook Ward manager, Partnerships in Care, Kneesworth House, Royston, St Andrew’s Healthcare, Northampton
Andrew Simmons Dietitian, St Andrew’s Healthcare, Northampton

Marlene Martelize Kelbrick and colleagues demonstrate the need for regular checks and cardiometabolic monitoring to achieve better long-term health outcomes for this population

Aims To identify the prevalence of psychiatric and physical health comorbidity in an adult male low secure autism spectrum disorder unit; to establish the clinical practice of physical health screening and management; and to compare this clinical practice with national guidelines.

Methods A baseline audit was conducted. Retrospective data collection included demographic, legal and clinical characteristics of adult males in a low-secure autism spectrum disorder unit. Quality enhancement measures were implemented including a health passport and physical health screening/management guides. A second audit was conducted six months after the intervention.

Results We identified 16 service users in the first audit and 18 service users in the second audit. The majority of these had at least one psychiatric comorbid condition, and a significant proportion had at least one physical health comorbid condition. Abnormal physical health findings were mainly cardiometabolic in nature. Physical health screening and management improved following quality enhancement changes being carried out.

Conclusions Limited data are is available on physical health comorbidity among adults with autism spectrum disorder. There is need for regular physical health checks and cardiometabolic monitoring in this population. Implementation of evidence-based guidelines is likely to result in improved physical health screening and management.

Mental Health Practice. 18, 9, 31-37. doi: 10.7748/mhp.18.9.31.e963


Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 20 December 2013

Accepted: 07 May 2014

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