Health Care Guidelines

Health care guidelines help define the standards of quality care for individuals with Down syndrome.

Original Interview with William I. Cohen, M.D. on the significance of Down syndrome health care guidelines.

The importance of the document is to support parents in getting the screening tests done that we believe are important to keep children and adults with Down syndrome healthy. Pediatricians may have between three and five children with Down syndrome in their practice, and although they may be knowledgeable about the current recommendations, I don’t expect them to be able to keep up in the same way as parents, who really become experts about the needs of their children. And even though we write about and present these issues in a variety of forums – at scientific meetings and continuing medical education conferences – the issue may not be as compelling for physicians as it is for parents.

Specialized guidelines help define for parents what is needed, so they can communicate with their primary care physician and say, “This is what is recommended. This is what we need to do.” It is a helpful tool for physicians, too, because it defines the medical vulnerabilities and the necessary screenings.