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14.01.2021 | original article | Ausgabe 7-8/2021 Open Access

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 7-8/2021

Factors influencing general practitioners’ perception of and attitude towards dementia diagnostics and care—results of a survey among primary care physicians in Germany

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 7-8/2021
Dr. phil. Julian Wangler, Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Michael Jansky
Wichtige Hinweise

Supplementary Information

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10354-020-00803-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Availability of data and materials

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article.

Author Contribution

The authors alone are responsible for the content and the writing of the paper. J. Wangler: prepared, coordinated, and implemented the project; both J. Wangler and M. Jansky contributed to the project design, analysis of transcripts, and drafting of the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Studies have shown that primary care is not always effective when it comes to caring for people with dementia. In addition, general practitioners do not always use diagnostic instruments consistently. The aim of the study was to identify relevant factors that influence general practitioners’ attitudes and willingness with respect to consistent diagnosis and care. For this purpose, resources, viewpoints, and behavioral patterns of general practitioners with regard to dementia diagnostics as well as common challenges in everyday practice were recorded. In the course of a survey, a total of 2266 general practitioners in Hesse and Baden-Württemberg were interviewed between January and March 2020. In addition to the descriptive analysis, a t-test was used to determine significant differences between two groups. A univariate linear regression analysis was carried out to identify possible influencing factors. 81% of the respondents do provide dementia diagnostics; 51% are involved in the treatment. Most of them see the diagnostic work-up (77%), communication and compliance problems (73%), as well as the therapeutic support (71%) as common challenges. In addition, there are interface problems regarding the interdisciplinary cooperation. Some of the respondents express doubts about the value of early detection (41%). The general practitioners’ attitude with respect to dementia diagnostics and care is determined by influencing factors that relate to geriatric competencies, expectations of self-efficacy, the integration of practice staff, as well as the knowledge of and cooperation with counseling and care services. It seems advisable to strengthen the geriatric competence of general practitioners. Moreover, it appears essential to educate general practitioners more about support structures in the field of dementia care and to integrate them accordingly. In addition, practice staff should be more systematically involved in the identification and care of dementia patients.

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