In patients aged 75 years and above, dementia is associated with increased expenditure and high morbimortality. Although the incidence of dementia is well known, it is often underrecognized in primary care. We conducted a cross-sectional study in 2 areas in the southeast of France to identify the factors affecting dementia-screening implementation by the French general practitioners (GPs). In May 2008, an anonymized survey was sent by e-mail and/or post to all GPs with a large clinic practice. Two months later, reminder letters were sent. Overall, 493 GPs answered (26.8%) to self-reported behavior. Of these, 73.2% felt that annual screening was useful, although only 24.5% implemented it each year and 17.5% implemented it every 2 to 5 years. Factors that favorably influenced screening practices were: the older age of the GPs; belief in the usefulness of annual dementia screening; increased frequency of follow-up visits by elderly patients; and the proportion of dementia in the GP’s practice. The main barrier to annual screening was the social problems encountered in the medical care of 75-year-old patients. Regardless of the differences in European national health policies or health care systems, all GPs encounter the same difficulties when dealing with elderly dementia patients.
*General Practice Department of Grenoble, Faculté de Médecine de Grenoble
†Clinic of Geriatrics, University Medical Center of Grenoble, Avenue des Marquis du Grésivaudan, La Tronche, France
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Reprints: Yoann Gaboreau, MD, General Practice Department of Grenoble, Faculté de Médecine de Grenoble, Domaine de la Merci, Avenue des Marquis du Grésivaudan, La Tronche 38706, France (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Received September 26, 2012
Accepted December 17, 2012