Dementia diagnosis and referral in general practice: a representative survey of Irish general practitioners

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Dyer, Adam H.
Foley, Tony
O'Shea, Brendan
Kennelly, Sean P.
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Irish Medical Organisation
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Aims: Most of those with a memory problem or concern over cognition present to their General Practitioner (GP) in the first instance. Despite this, the current diagnostic and referral patterns of Irish GPs remains unclear. Methods: A survey was distributed to three separate cohorts of GPs (n=692) Results: Ninety-Five (14%) responded. Most personally diagnose 1-3 (69%; 65/95) or 4-6 (21%; 20/95) patients with dementia per year. Two-thirds (62%; 59/95) refer >80% of those with possible dementia for further assessment/support, most commonly to support/clarify a diagnosis (71%; 67/95) and most frequently to a geriatrician (79%; 75/95). In half of cases (51%; 48/95), referral is to a professional working as part of an established memory clinic. One-fifth reported receiving dementia-specific postgraduate training (19%; 18/95) and over four-fifths (82%; 78/95) would welcome further training. Discussion: Further attention to the ongoing establishment of memory clinic services and dedicated referral pathways, as well as increasing emphasis on dementia assessment and diagnosis in medical curricula, is warranted.
Memory clinic service , Dedicated referral pathways , Dementia assessment
Dyer, A.H., Foley, T., O’Shea, B. and Kennelly, S. P. (2018) ‘Dementia diagnosis and referral in general practice: a representative survey of Irish general practitioners’, Irish Medical Journal, 111(4), 735
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