Screening for cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease and other dementias: opinions of European caregivers, payors, physicians and the general public
The IMPACT survey queried physicians, caregivers, payors and members of the general public from 5 European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) regarding their opinions towards screening for Alzheimer's disease (AD) as part of a 30-minute Web-based questionnaire conducted between April and May 2009. A larger proportion of caregivers (84%) and members of the general public (80%) than of physicians (56%) or payors (40%) viewed routine screening for AD as extremely or very important (P < 0.001 for caregivers or general public vs physicians or payors). When asked if everyone should be routinely screened for AD at age 65, a smaller proportion of physicians (42%) and payors (44%) than members of the general public (81%) or caregivers (80%) agreed (P < 0.001 for caregivers or general public vs physicians or payors). These opinions were generally consistent across the 5 countries for each respondent group. A notable exception was physician respondents from Italy, where most generalists and specialists actually favoured screening. Overall, generalists had a more positive attitude towards screening than specialists. The most frequently cited reason given by those who did not favour routine screening at age 65 was screening inaccuracy. This article discusses these results in relation to what screening is, when to screen and the barriers to screening. Despite the majority of IMPACT respondents being in favour of screening for AD, the evidence to support the introduction of population screening for cognitive impairment is not available; however, the importance of optimal identification of AD and other dementias in primary care should be a priority for community health professionals and payors. In order to do this effectively, further work is required to identify good assessment guidelines for use during opportunistic screening for cognitive impairment in primary care.
Available from: S. Oustric
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ABSTRACT: The primary care physician has a central role in the management of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The proposals in this article stem from a collaborative work of a panel of experts involved in the care of AD patients. The primary care physician’s (PCP) intervention appears essential at all levels: detection of the onset of dementia, diagnostic management, treatment and follow-up and lastly therapeutic research. In primary care practice, the first step is to identify dementia. Then a group of uncomplicated demented old subjects with typical AD symptoms can be identified, in which the PCP could make the diagnosis and then seek specialist confirmation. Disclosure to patient and family should be done by both specialist and PCP. Then the PCP has a key role in pharmacological and nonpharmacological management of the disease, in support services and in follow-up. Finally, the role of the PCP in clinical trials must be integrated in the daily practice.
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ABSTRACT: Given the important role that physicians play in clinical care, disease advocacy, national health policy making and clinical research, the IMPACT survey sought to assess the attitudes and perceptions of physicians in 3 general categories: diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD); caregivers and families of patients with AD; and the role of government in dealing with this disease and its consequences. Survey respondents comprised a total of 250 generalists and 250 specialists (neurologists, geriatricians, neuro-psychiatrists, psychiatrists and psychogeriatricians) from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Physicians were aged 25 to 69 years, in practice for between 5 and 30 years and currently spending more than 50% of their time in direct patient care. Results showed that a sizable majority of physicians throughout Europe, specialists and generalists alike, agree that: 1) AD is underdiagnosed and undertreated; 2) patients and families are not prepared to recognise the early symptoms of the disease; 3) early treatment can help to slow the progression of the disease; and 4) more effective treatments are needed. Attitudes were statistically significantly different between some groups of physicians regarding disclosure of the diagnosis of AD, the benefits of lifestyle modification, and the value of AD-specific medication in patients whose symptoms are worsening. Differences in attitudes and perceptions of AD between specialists and generalists were limited; differences between countries were more common and of greater magnitude, particularly with respect to barriers to the use of prescription medications.
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