On telling the truth in Alzheimer's disease: a pilot study of current practice and attitudes

Int Psychogeriatr. 2000 Jun;12(2):221-9. doi: 10.1017/s1041610200006347.


Research suggests there has been a cultural change in the disclosure of diagnosis; most evidence relates to cancer and there is little knowledge of attitudes towards disclosing the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. A questionnaire was used to survey the current practice and attitudes of old-age psychiatrists and geriatricians in Nottingham, UK. The results of this pilot study suggest that only 40% of respondents regularly tell patients the diagnosis. Although physicians are aware of many benefits in disclosing, they have concerns regarding the certainty of diagnosis, the patient's insight, and potential detrimental effects. The advantages of disclosure and the ethical issues involved are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Decision Making
  • Humans
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians
  • Pilot Projects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Truth Disclosure*