Dementia – who cares?: a comparison of community needs and primary care services

Millard, Fiona, and Baune, Bernhard (2009) Dementia – who cares?: a comparison of community needs and primary care services. Australian Family Physician, 38 (8). pp. 642-649.

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Background Health professionals have varying levels of knowledge about, and interest in, providing dementia services. This article compares patient experiences in dealing with dementia with the perceived role of health care providers in providing dementia care. Method Qualitative data from interviews of patients with dementia and their carers was compared with quantitative data from health professional surveys, where health professionals described their knowledge of dementia and their attitudes toward, and roles in, management. Results Patients often notice dementia symptoms before their general practitioner and seek diagnosis and support. Not all GPs wish to provide dementia services and many are unaware of the benefits of early diagnosis and dementia care guidelines. Dementia forums attract older health professionals, suggesting younger members are less engaged in dementia care. Older patients tend to consult with older GPs, but older GPs are less aware of dementia diagnosis and management guidelines. Discussion Patients turn to their GP for help with dementia but may find most benefit from the assistance and advice of people who have already negotiated the pathways to care. Health professionals who fail to investigate patients presenting with dementia symptoms can delay diagnosis, denying patients and carers early intervention that could improve quality of life for both patient and carer.

Item ID: 5348
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0300-8495
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Copyright to Australian Family Physician. Reproduced with permission. Permission to reproduce must be sought from the publisher, The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners:

Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2009 23:40
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1109 Neurosciences > 110999 Neurosciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 100%
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