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Aust Fam Physician. 2002 Apr;31(4):381-3.

Dementia care in general practice. What can the BEACH survey tell us?

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Research and Development Unit, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, New South Wales.



Only a small amount of rather selective information about dementia care in general practice in Australia is available.


To obtain a broader understanding of the prevalence and management of dementia in general practice.


An analysis of data from the Bettering the Evaluation And Care of Health (BEACH) study of general practice in 1998-2000 was undertaken.


Only 21% of GPs reported any encounter with a patient at which dementia was treated within their reported 100 patient encounters. These encounters comprised only 0.43% of all encounters; 39% of these encounters were in a nursing home and 28% occurred in the GP's consulting rooms. For 7% of patients the diagnosis of dementia was new. Most patients with dementia were aged over 75 years, but dementia was treated in only 3% of all patients of this age. It was treated in 19% of patients seen in nursing homes. Nearly all patients (96%) with dementia had other conditions managed at the encounter. Medication was infrequently prescribed for dementia.


More information is needed about dementia and its care in the community--its stage, extent of impairment and disability, social functioning, use of services, carers and their health, and progression over time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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