This document is intended to provide a clearer understanding of the importance of some common signs and symptoms of illness. It explains why certain simple signs may be important clues of underlying conditions and stresses the importance of observing changes in an individual's normal status. It. Is formatted to follow the sequence outlined in the Health Review Checklist (HC-2).
Observing Signs and Symptoms of Illness
The following fact sheets are intended for use as a training tool for direct support professionals. They are formatted to define a condition, identify observable symptoms, and recommend action for direct support professionals. The fact sheets minimize the use of medical jargon and can be used as quick reference sheets for direct support professionals.
The sections included highlight a few key issues that commonly occur and may be indicative of serious health concerns requiring prompt action. The forms do not attempt to dictate agency practice with respect to action to be taken. They are meant to provide guidance to providers regarding signs and symptoms that should trigger agency response protocols.
- Abdominal Pain (PDF)
- Apnea (PDF)
- Allergies (PDF)
- Antibiotic - Resistant Bacteria (PDF)
- Bowel Obstruction (PDF)
- Clostridium Difficile (PDF)
- Constipation (PDF)
- Dehydration (PDF)
- Diarrhea (PDF)
- Dysphagia and Aspiration (PDF)
- Falls (PDF)
- Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) (PDF)
- Just Not Right (PDF)
- PICA (PDF)
- Seizures (PDF)
- Sepsis (PDF)
- Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (PDF)
Suggest a New Topic for a Fact Sheet:
We see this initiative as a dynamic process. We plan to continue to develop more signs and symptoms sheets on an ongoing basis. As soon as they are developed they will be posted on our website. Please visit and check often for new forms. If you have any suggestions for topics for these forms, please contact Sharon Oxx at Sharon.Oxx@.state.ma.us.
This information is provided by the Department of Developmental Services.