Adults with Down Syndrome

How to Take this Course

Course Overview: Adults with Down syndrome today enjoy active, productive lives in a variety of community settings. Medical advances over the past century have greatly extended the life span of individuals with Down syndrome. Along with these advances come new health issues that have significant implications for nursing practice. Adults with Down syndrome have a higher-than-usual incidence of certain cardiac, respiratory, neurological, autoimmune, dental, psychiatric, oncological, and orthopedic disorders. Many feel the effects of premature aging, including cognitive decline, sensory impairments, and Alzheimer’s disease. This program discusses the national health care guidelines for adults with Down syndrome, along with nursing interventions to support these guidelines.

Community integration requires careful life planning, and the professional nurse can be a valuable part of the planning process. This program provides a balanced perspective on life planning options for adults with Down syndrome, including asset management, living arrangements, education, and supported employment. It also explores some of the current dilemmas facing adults with Down syndrome and their support personnel: concerns about intimacy and sexuality, the balance between effective weight management and the adult’s need for self-determination, and the never-ending consideration of how much nursing intervention is appropriate in the lives of adults with disabilities. A litmus test for quality of life is provided as a guideline for effective nursing intervention.

Please see Objectives for a specific list of the course goals.

Here are a few hints to help you navigate through the course.

Instant Feedback: To reinforce the material, quiz yourself on what you have learned while studying this information. Wherever you see this color text, questions are accessible.

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The target audience for this course is nurses who work with adults with Down syndrome in a variety of settings: inpatient and outpatient health care facilities, physicians’ offices and clinics, public and private agencies serving individuals with disabilities, home health, and case management.