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What Do General Practitioners Tell People with Dementia and their Families about the Condition?: A survey of experiences in Scotland

By M Downs, R Clibbens, C Rae, Ailsa Cook and R Woods


There has been growing discussion in the literature about the merits and demerits of disclosing a diagnosis to a person with dementia. There is growing empirical evidence that general practitioners (GPs) are reluctant to share the diagnosis with people with dementia. To date little research has examined what GPs tell their patients and their families. The purpose of the reported study was to examine what GPs tell people with dementia and their families about the condition. The study relied on data gathered from an opportunistic sample of 114 GPs who were attending a training course in care of people with dementia. Findings reveal a disparity between what GPs tell the family and the person. People with dementia tend to be given information about the symptoms and the cause is described predominantly as part of ageing. Family members are given information about symptoms, cause, prognosis and available supports. Best practice regarding diagnosis disclosure to people with dementia needs to be established. This includes what people with dementia are told, how they are told and what supports are made available to those who have been told

Year: 2002
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