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Diagnosis of dementia at the primary care level

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In Sweden, as in many other industrial countries, the majority of patients with symptoms of dementia are initially evaluated by a general practitioner (GP), and many do not receive a follow‐up assessment by a specialist. Accordingly, GPs play a vital role in identifying patients with possible dementia and undertaking additional diagnostic procedures. Currently, however, the ability of most GPs to perform assessments for dementia is limited. It is important that tests to confirm the presence of dementia be performed uniformly, irrespective of the specialty of the examining physician. Once a diagnosis of dementia has been established and appropriate living arrangements for the patient have been made, the GP should continue to monitor the patient's health status. In Sweden, “dementia teams” of health care professionals have been successful in providing a consistently high level of care to patients with dementia, reducing the incidence of hospitalization for acute illness.

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: Departments of General Practice and Primary Health Care and Geriatric Medicine, University of Linköping, Linköping, Sweden

Publication date: 1996-04-01

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