GP attitudes to early diagnosis of dementia: evidence of improvement

Hatzidimitriadou, Eleni, Milne, Alisoun and Hamilton-West, Kate (2005) GP attitudes to early diagnosis of dementia: evidence of improvement. Aging & Mental Health, 9(5), pp. 449-455. ISSN (print) 1360-7863


This paper offers a comparative analysis of GPs attitudes towards early diagnosis of dementia in 1997 and 2001. It draws on data from two studies conducted in the same area using the same research instrument. Overall, findings reveal a significantly greater commitment to early diagnosis at Time 2 than at Time 1. More GPs hold positive attitudes and consider early diagnosis to facilitate a number of practical and therapeutic benefits for users and carers. Further, fewer GPs regard early diagnosis as having negative consequences. Findings also support existing evidence about attitudes being underpinned by drivers and barriers. Those GPs who are committed regard it as an opportunity to offer preventive treatment and plan for the future; barriers include limited treatment options. Primary reasons for the attitudinal shift are greater accessibility of psychiatric colleagues, additional investment in support services, and enhanced policy and clinical emphasis on the value of early diagnosis.

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