There are four major health issues that are commonly linked to preventable death in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) residing in congregate or in community-based settings. These health issues, commonly referred to as “The Fatal Four,” are aspiration, dehydration, constipation and seizures. As more individuals with IDD move into community settings, direct support professionals (DSPs) need to be familiar with these common medical conditions.
Treatment and management of healthcare needs among patients with IDD can be challenging. Individuals with IDD have unique needs that are not always consistent with those of the general population. Additionally, many of these individuals cannot verbalize symptoms, and behaviors may mask the signs of life-threatening conditions. Therefore, all DSPs, qualified intellectual disability professionals (QIDPs), and registered nurses supporting people with IDD must have an in-depth knowledge of the Fatal Four causes, symptoms and treatments.
The Fatal Four: Aspiration's Dangers and Key Interventions
People with IDD have a higher risk of problems swallowing and aspiration. Find out why and what to do about it now.
The Fatal Four: Dehydration Signs and Risk Factors
Dehydration should not be taken lightly. Recognizing the risk factors and following these tips will help you prevent a dangerous condition before it starts.
The Fatal Four: What You Need to Know About Seizures
Many individuals with IDD have epilepsy in addition to another disability. Learn how to help the individuals you serve prevent seizures and avoid injuries.
The Fatal Four: How Constipation Impacts Health
Constipation stinks, but it doesn’t have to be deadly. Having more information available about this condition in the Fatal Four can help your organization better serve those at higher risk.
What are the Fatal Four?
Dehydration, constipation, aspiration and seizures make up the Fatal Four.
What increases the risk of aspiration?
Difficulty swallowing, difficulty sitting up straight, and eating too quickly are just a few of the risk factors for aspiration. Read more
Why are persons with IDD prone to dehydration?
Many people with IDD experience disruptions in their body’s senses and signals. These individuals might not know they are thirsty. Others may have difficulty communicating thirst or may be unable to get a drink on their own when they need one. Read more
How can DSPs prevent constipation among the individuals they support?
Direct support professionals (DSPs) should use these 9 tips to help reduce the risk for constipation among the individuals they support, including watching sodium intake, integrating physical activity into the day, and encouraging a well-balanced diet. Read about all 9 ways
What should a DSP do to support someone who has seizures?
There are 10 ways DSPs can help to prevent seizures or injuries that can occur during a seizure. These include providing medication support and encouraging the individual to take showers. Read all 10 ways
Fatal Four Posters [Free Download]
Relias created these posters on The Fatal Four to help you educate your employees and protect the people you serve. Print out these posters on legal-sized paper, hang them in your offices and facilities, and save lives.
The Fatal Four and Other Health Hazards
This webinar reviews common health emergencies and chronic health conditions that can rob a person with developmental disabilities of their health and life.
The Fatal Four
This course covers common health problems for people with IDD, including dehydration, UTIs, constipation, and aspiration.