Multiple views reveal the complexity of dementia diagnosis

Australas J Ageing. 2008 Dec;27(4):183-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-6612.2008.00316.x.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / nursing
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Family Health
  • Family Practice
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Prejudice*
  • Residential Facilities
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Tasmania