Effects of educational interventions on primary dementia care: A systematic review

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2011 Jan;26(1):1-11. doi: 10.1002/gps.2479.


Objective: To determine the effects of educational interventions about dementia, directed at primary care providers (PCPs).

Design: We searched Medline, Embase, PsycInfo, Cinahl and the Cochrane library for relevant articles. Two researchers independently assessed the citations identified against the following inclusion criteria: educational intervention on dementia directed at PCPs and study designs being randomized controlled trials (RCTs), controlled clinical trials (CCTs), controlled before and after studies (CBAs) or interrupted time series (ITS) analyses. Outcomes of interest were PCPs' knowledge and attitude on dementia, and quality of dementia care at PCP and patient level.

Results: Of 3953 citations identified, six articles representing five studies (four cluster RCTs and one CBA) were eligible, describing educational interventions directed at 1904 PCPs. Compliance to the interventions varied from 18 to 100%. Systematic review of the studies showed moderate positive results. Five articles reported at least some effects of the interventions. A small group workshop and a decision support system (DSS) increased dementia detection rates. An interactive 2-h seminar raised GPs' suspicion of dementia. Adherence to dementia guidelines only improved when an educational intervention was combined with the appointment of dementia care managers. This combined intervention also improved patients' and caregivers' quality of life. Effects on knowledge and attitudes were minor.

Conclusion: Educational interventions for PCPs that require active participation improve detection of dementia. Educational interventions alone do not seem to increase adherence to dementia guidelines. To effectively change professionals' performance in primary dementia care, education probably needs to be combined with adequate reimbursement or other organizational incentives.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Dementia*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic