General practitioners' attitudes towards early diagnosis of dementia: a cross-sectional survey.

Giezendanner, Stéphanie; Monsch, Andreas U; Kressig, Reto W; Mueller, Yolanda; Streit, Sven; Essig, Stefan; Zeller, Andreas; Bally, Klaus (2019). General practitioners' attitudes towards early diagnosis of dementia: a cross-sectional survey. BMC family practice, 20(1), p. 65. BioMed Central 10.1186/s12875-019-0956-1

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BACKGROUND Dementia is often underdiagnosed in general practice, which may be based on general practitioners' (GPs') knowledge and emotional factors as well as external problems. This study aimed to describe GPs' attitudes toward early diagnosis of dementia. METHODS Cross-sectional postal survey in Switzerland in 2017. Members of the Swiss Association of General Practitioners (N = 4460) were asked to participate in the survey. The questionnaire assessed attitudes, enablers and barriers to early dementia diagnosis and post-diagnostic intervention strategies. Exploratory factor analysis and linear regression were used. RESULTS The survey response rate was 21%. 85% of GPs agreed with enablers of early dementia recognition (e.g. "Plan for the future, organize support and care", "Minimize the strain and insecurity of patients and their informal family caregivers"). On the other hand, 15% of respondents perceived barriers towards early dementia recognition (e.g. "Time constraints in carrying out the necessary procedures to diagnose dementia"). GPs who were more likely to agree with barriers would less often counsel family members (β = - 0.05, 95% CI = - 0.09 - -0.02) or test fitness to drive (β = - 0.05, 95% CI = - 0.09 - -0.02), and more often choose a watchful waiting strategy (β = 0.05, 95% CI = 0.02-0.09). CONCLUSIONS The attitude of the majority of GPs is not characterized by diagnostic and therapeutic nihilism. However, negative attitudes were associated with sub-optimal management after the diagnosis. Thus, health systems are required to critically examine the use of available resources allowing GPs to look after patients and their relatives in a holistic way.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of General Practice and Primary Care (BIHAM)

UniBE Contributor:

Streit, Sven


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




BioMed Central




Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

05 Jun 2019 15:53

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 08:46

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Attitudes Barriers Dementia Early diagnosis Primary care




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