Good health care for a good life? The case of down syndrome

Francine A. Van Den Driessen Mareeuw*, Antonia M. W. Coppus, Diana M. J. Delnoij, Esther De Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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People with Down syndrome have complex health care needs which are not always fully met. Health care improvements are required to better meet these needs. Quality indicators are an important tool for improving health care. However, quality indicators for health care for people with Down syndrome are scarce. Existing quality indicators focus on medical (physical) needs or the clinical setting, even though it is acknowledged that quality measures should reflect the total of quality aspects relevant to the population at stake, which may encompass aspects beyond the medical domain. These aspects beyond the medical domain are the focus of the current paper, which aims to provide insight into the way people with Down syndrome live their lives, how health care may fit in, and how this may impact the development of quality indicators. The paper is based on data originating from interviews with people with Down syndrome and their parents as well as focus groups with support staff members working in assisted living facilities for people with intellectual disability. The data revealed a lot of variation in how people with Down syndrome live their lives. Nevertheless, we were able to identify 11 topics, which we grouped into three overarching themes: (1) Being different yet living a normal life; (2) Down syndrome-(un)friendly society and services; and (3) family perspective. The variation in our data stresses the importance of health care that takes a person's life into account beyond the medical domain, as exemplified by the identified topics. Our findings also show that a good life is not merely depending on good health care supported by well-defined quality indicators, but on (support in) all life domains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-157
JournalJournal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • down syndrome
  • health care
  • intellectual disability
  • practice
  • quality of life


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