Dementia knowledge and attitudes of the general public in Northern Ireland: an analysis of national survey data.
ABSTRACT This paper provides an overview of the findings from the dementia module of the 2010 Northern Ireland Life and Times (NILT) Survey: an annual survey recording public attitudes to major social policy issues. Northern Ireland, in line with many other developed countries, recently released a Dementia Strategy. The opportunity to explore the knowledge and attitudes of the general public to dementia at a national level in Northern Ireland is timely and valuable. This paper reports on an initial exploration of these attitudes, based on bivariate analysis across demographic groups.
Data were analyzed using SPSS (Version 19). Descriptive and summary statistics were produced. A series of categorical bivariate relationships were tested (chi-square) and tests of association (Cramer's V) were reported. We discuss both knowledge-related findings and attitudinal findings.
We found that the general public in Northern Ireland have a reasonably good level of knowledge about dementia. However, attitudinal measures indicate the stereotyping and infantilization of people with dementia.
This NILT module provides a unique source of data on attitudes to, and knowledge of, dementia. A key strength is that it provides statistically representative data with national level coverage. This information can be used to target public health education policies more effectively and to inform delivery of health and social services. The success of the module leads us to believe that it stands as a blue-print for collecting information on dementia in other social surveys.
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ABSTRACT: The diagnosis of dementia poses difficulties for general practitioners (GPs) particularly when access to specialist diagnostic services is delayed. Ireland is soon to witness an increase in numbers of people presenting with dementia, yet little is known about the service needs of GPs when attempting to diagnose dementia. To detail the service needs of GPs, especially their training needs, access to diagnostic resources such as CT and MRI brain scans and access to specialist services such as Old Age Psychiatry (OAP), Geriatric Medicine (GM) and Neuropsychology (NP). The paper is based on survey data collected from a sample of GPs (n = 300) registered with the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) and on qualitative data collected from a Focus Group (n = 7). GPs were more likely to blame themselves than either the health care system, their patients or family members for the late presentation of dementia in primary care. Stigma was a major obstacle preventing GPs from being more proactive in this area. Rural GPs felt geographically disadvantaged accessing diagnostic services and both rural and urban GPs experienced considerable time delays accessing specialist diagnostic services. Findings provide compelling evidence that training and access to diagnostic services are only two of several different structural and ideological obstacles that GPs encounter when attempting to diagnose dementia. Future educational supports for GPs need to be developed which concentrate on these areas.International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 08/2008; 23(7):663-9. · 2.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Despite a growing literature on effective interventions for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and agitation, the management of these conditions in long term care (LTC) often is inadequate. The goals of the present study were: (a) to evaluate existing beliefs about evidence based practices (EBP) for the management of Alzheimer's disease and agitation among LTC staff; and (b) to evaluate the contribution of demographic and attitudinal variables to LTC staff beliefs about these EBP. A cross sectional study of 371 LTC staff members completed an EBP questionnaire, a short demographic questionnaire, and an attitudinal questionnaire about AD and agitation. Paraprofessional caregivers, those of lower educational level, and ethnic minorities were more likely to be in disagreement with the EBP views examined in this study. Those in disagreement with the EBP views also reported a preference towards not working with residents with AD and agitation and a sense of helplessness associated with such work. Disagreement with EBP views was associated with both normalization and stigmatization of AD and agitation. Paraprofessional caregivers, ethnic minorities, and people of lower educational level are most at need for educational activities about AD and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Educational efforts geared towards changing the belief system of LTC staff should target not only EBP but also information about AD and agitation as conditions that are deviant from the normal aging process, yet non-stigmatizing. It is expected that following EBP will empower staff and improve staff motivation to work with residents with AD and agitation.International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 06/2008; 24(2):118-24. · 2.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recognition of the additional social handicaps and distress that people with mental illnesses experience as a result of prejudice. To determine opinions of the British adult population concerning those with mental illnesses as baseline data for a campaign to combat stigmatization. Survey of adults (n = 1737 interviewed; 65% response) regarding seven types of common mental disorders. Responses evaluated concerned eight specified perceptions. Respondents commonly perceived people with schizophrenia, alcoholism and drug addiction as unpredictable and dangerous. The two latter conditions were also viewed as self-inflicted. People with any of the seven disorders were perceived as hard to talk with. Opinions about effects of treatment and prognosis suggested reasonable knowledge. About half the respondents reported knowing someone with a mental illness. Negative opinions indiscriminately overemphasize social handicaps that can accompany mental disorders. They contribute to social isolation, distress and difficulties in employment faced by sufferers. A campaign against stigma should take account of the differences in opinions about the seven disorders studied.The British Journal of Psychiatry 08/2000; 177:4-7. · 6.61 Impact Factor