The primary care diagnosis of dementia in Europe: an analysis using multidisciplinary, multinational expert groups.
until further notice
SourceAging & Mental Health, 12, 5, (2008), pp. 568-576
Article / Letter to editor
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Centre for Quality of Care Research
Aging & Mental Health
SubjectEBP 3: Effective Primary Care and Public Health; EBP 4: Quality of Care; NCEBP 11: Alzheimer Centre; NCEBP 4: Quality of hospital and integrated care; NCEBP 7: Effective primary care and public health; ONCOL 4: Quality of Care
OBJECTIVES: To explore the extent of variation in the detection of dementia in primary care across Europe, and the potential for the development of European guidelines. METHOD: A mixture of focus group and adapted nominal group methods involving 23 experts of different disciplines and from eight European countries. RESULTS: The diagnosis of dementia should be 'timely' rather than 'early'. Timeliness has an impact on the patient, on the caregiver, on healthcare professionals, and on society. Ethical and moral issues may interfere with the aim of timely diagnosis. Guidelines may be important for facilitating a timely diagnosis of dementia, but were infrequently used and not even available in three of the eight countries. Referral pathways often depended on health care system characteristics, differing throughout the eight European countries, whilst diagnostic strategies differed due to varied cultural influences. There was consensus that national variations can be reduced and timely diagnosis enhanced by combining simple tests using a systematic stepwise case-finding strategy, in conjunction with a strong infrastructure of multidisciplinary collaboration. CONCLUSIONS: This study identified three key themes that should be considered in harmonizing European approaches to the diagnosis of dementia in primary care: (1) a focus on timely diagnosis, (2) the need for the development and implementation of guidelines, and (3) the identification of appropriate referral pathways and diagnostic strategies including multi-professional collaboration. The content of guidelines may be determined by the perspectives of the guideline developers.
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