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J Int Med Res. 2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):149-59.

The role of general practitioners in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease: a multinational survey.

Author information

1
Memory Assessment and Research Centre, Southampton, UK. David.Wilkinson@WHT.NHS.UK

Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a growing healthcare problem. Early diagnosis and effective treatment would benefit patients and caregivers, as well as having economic implications. We conducted a survey of 741 caregivers of patients with AD in Australia, France, Italy, Spain and the UK to assess the current situation regarding the diagnosis and treatment of AD in routine clinical practice. The average time from when symptoms were first noticed by the caregiver to making the first doctor's appointment was 4 months, but 22% of caregivers waited more than 1 year before consulting a doctor. Although the majority of patients (74%) consulted their general practitioner first, the diagnosis was more likely to be made by a specialist; on average, there was a 1-year delay from when symptoms were first noticed by the caregiver to diagnosis. Access to AD care is restricted by many national healthcare systems. The delay in diagnosis imposed by such restrictions impacts on access to early and effective treatment.

PMID:
15080018
DOI:
10.1177/147323000403200207
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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