This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

GPs are 'a barrier' to dementia diagnosis

Written by: | Published:

People with dementia, and those that care for them, see GPs as barriers to receiving a diagnosis, a parliamentary report has found.

Unlocking diagnosis: The key to improving the lives of people with dementia, published by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia, said carers and people with dementia 'largely saw primary care, and particularly GPs, as barriers to a diagnosis rather than gatekeepers'.

The report pointed to a 2007 National Audit Office report, which found the attitude of England's GPs could prevent or delay early diagnosis. 'Common perceptions, such as that there is little support for people with dementia, can discourage GPs from referring people,' the report said.

It added that nurse and GP dementia training should be extended, and said better screening methods to help them identify patients were needed.

'The group received evidence that all "generalist" health professionals, such as GPs, geriatricians, wider primary care teams, ward nurses and care assistants, who are involved in the general care of people with dementia, needed more specific training on dementia and dementia diagnosis,' the report found.

Dementia UK claims that increasing the number of specialist dementia nurses, or Admiral Nurses, based within primary care and, specifically, general practice would make 'a huge difference' to diagnosis rates.

London Admiral Nurse Ian Weatherhead said: 'Having a dementia specialist in the GP practice can not only help educate and support other health professionals in increasing their awareness of dementia symptoms when patients visit, but they are also best placed to support the family, discuss fears, take through the diagnostic journey and provide essential post-diagnostic advice.'

The report found that older people with memory problems often believed it is an unavoidable part of ageing, and did address the problem. It also said that national variances in diagnosis rates were 'shocking'.

'In Belfast, 70 per cent of people receive a diagnosis, but in parts of Wales this figure is less than 40 per cent. Even in areas with the highest rates more than a quarter of people with dementia are living in the dark without a formal diagnosis.'

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 

Most read articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Practice Nursing Journal latest issue and most read articles.

Click here to read a selection of free to access articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.