Out-of-hours primary care for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) involves different groups of health care professionals, who are often not familiar to one another nor to the specific health care needs of this vulnerable population. It is not known to what extend these specific health care needs or organizational factors influence the delivery of out-of-hours primary care for people with ID.
The objective of this study is to explore the experiences of health care professionals regarding the medical content and the organizational context of out-of-hours primary care for people with ID.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with daily care professionals, triage nurses and general practitioners (GPs) involved in out-of-hours primary care for people with ID in the Netherlands. Interviews were thematically analysed for medical content and organizational context.
The analysis resulted in four interconnected themes: (i) uncertainties in the triage assessment of ID patients; (ii) confusion about inter-professional responsibilities; (iii) impact on routines and workflow concerning ID patients and (iv) constraints in the decision-making process. All issues raised were related to the organizational context.
Health care professionals involved in out-of-hours primary care for people with ID indicate that the quality of this care is more influenced by the organizational context than by the medical content. We recommend out-of-hours GP services and care provider services for people with ID to set standards for roles and responsibilities in order to facilitate health care professionals in delivering accessible and high-quality care to this vulnerable population.

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