Fifty percent of dementia cases go undiagnosed
13 September, 2011
Glenn Rees, CEO Alzheimer’s Australia, said that two reports released on 13th September showed that Australia needed a national strategy to promote early diagnosis of dementia and interventions through awareness raising and training of health and social workers.
The report released by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and prepared by the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London concludes that in high income countries only 20-50% of people living with dementia are recognised and documented in primary care.
The result is that people with dementia are denied access to valuable information, treatment, care and support.
The paper released by Alzheimer’s Australia "Timely Diagnosis of Dementia; Can we do better?" has found that there is an average of three years before a diagnosis is made from the first consultation. This was consistent with long standing concerns of consumers about delays in diagnosis.
The barriers to diagnosis include the false belief that dementia is a normal part of ageing, denial on the part of the individual and family, the complexity of diagnosing dementia and doctors being reluctant to damage the doctor and patient relationship.
The paper released by Alzheimer’s Australia identifies a number of strategies to overcoming the barriers to diagnosis including awareness campaigns and better understanding of dementia, training and education to better support GP’s and the use of practice nurses in screening those concerned about their memories.
The under-diagnosis of dementia is a serious issue for health policy.
Media release can be downloaded here.
"Timely Diagnosis of Dementia; Can we do better?" can be downloaded here.
The ADI report "The benefits of early diagnosis and intervention" can be downloaded from here.