The cost of diagnosing dementia in a community setting

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2010 May;25(5):476-82. doi: 10.1002/gps.2365.


Objectives: In order to cope with the increasing number of individuals with dementia, it is crucial to develop the diagnostic capacity in primary care in cooperation with dementia specialists. Further, in order to establish prerequisites for care and planning it is important to identify the cost of dementia diagnosis. This study aims to evaluate the cost of establishing a dementia diagnosis.

Methods: This is a prospective, time- and resource utilization study for the identification of the total cost associated with diagnosing dementia (from start of the diagnostic process to time for established or rejected dementia diagnosis) both at the specialist and primary care level.

Results: Dementia evaluation in primary care took between 2 weeks and 2 months before reaching diagnosis. The average cost for all patients evaluated at the primary care level was 477 Euro (euro), whereas evaluations done on a specialist level reached a cost of 1115 euro. Thus, the costs per true diagnosed case consist of the cost for all dementia investigations divided by the number of finalized diagnoses.

Conclusions: In this study the cost for diagnosing dementia per true diagnosed patient is 849 euro at the primary care level and 1334 euro at the specialist level. Based on this result we estimated that the cost of establishing a dementia diagnosis is 1% of the total cost of dementia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Community Mental Health Services / economics*
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / economics
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Specialization / economics