[A brief reference to this item appears in: Dementia and Elderly Care: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 3 Issue 3, October 2012].
The authors assessed the self-reported confidence and knowledge of general practitioners (GPs) with regard to the identification and management of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), based on their responses to a two-page paper questionnaire. A random sample of 160 GPs in north Dublin was surveyed, in which respondents were asked to evaluate their confidence and knowledge of diagnosis and management of BPSD.
GPs were modest and self-critical of their skills in diagnosing (76.4%) and managing (77.4%) BPSD, and in being able to discriminate BPSD from other behavioural disturbances (71.7%). Many (67.9%) experienced difficulty accessing specialist services. Many GPs (92.5%) valued the importance of non-pharmacological interventions in BPSD, but none recommended these in practice.
The authors conclude that work should be focused on supporting GPs with educational interventions covering all aspects of dementia, but highlighting the more challenging neuropsychiatric components of the illness. Health services should promote stronger collaboration between GPs and mental health professionals.
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Buhagiar, K. Afzal, N. [and] Cosgrave, M. (2011). Behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia in primary care: a survey of general practitioners in Ireland. Mental Health in Family Medicine, December 2011; Vol.8(4): pp.227-234.