General practitioners on dementia: tasks, practices and obstacles

Patient Educ Couns. 2000 Feb;39(2-3):219-25. doi: 10.1016/s0738-3991(99)00034-8.


The objective of the study was to identify the GPs' perception of their tasks, their practice and obstacles concerning the diagnosis and management of dementia. Twenty-eight GPs participated in focus-group interviews and completed a questionnaire. The GPs perceived their tasks to diagnose, inform and manage dementia patients and their relatives preferably from an early stage on and in such a way that patients are able to stay at home as long as possible. Nevertheless, the GPs diagnose usually in a more progressed stage. As main reasons for this delay the GPs mentioned diagnostic uncertainty during the early stages, embarrassment to conduct a cognitive examination and communicate the diagnosis, non-consulting patients and a lack of time. A discrepancy was found between the GPs' views of their tasks and their clinical practice regarding dementia. Important obstacles were reported that can explain the diagnostic delay and may prevent appropriate education of family caregivers in dealing with demented patients such as embarrassment to examine and communicate this condition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Job Description
  • Male
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Physician's Role*
  • Physicians, Family / education
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Physicians, Family / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires