Objective: To reveal views about dementia diagnosis derived from a larger study of information needs of carers of people with dementia in Tasmania, Australia.
Methods: Over 100 participants, including family carers, health professionals and dementia service personnel, met as discrete focus groups. Data pertinent to dementia diagnosis were segregated and subjected to across-group comparative analysis.
Results: The term dementia held connotations of stigma and futility, despite stated benefits of having a diagnosis. General practitioners were regarded as pivotal but having inadequate diagnostic and treatment options. While most health professionals advocated a longitudinal diagnostic process, this created considerable stress for family carers who sought a speedy process. Without a diagnosis, some dementia-specific services were undeliverable.
Conclusion: Dementia diagnosis is steeped in deep-rooted difficulties and stressful implications, compounded by carers' differing needs and interests. Better understanding between care providers of their conflicting and consistent views could contribute to better dementia care.