Characteristics of patients assessed for cognitive decline in primary healthcare, compared to patients assessed in specialist healthcare
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionScandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care. 2020, 38 (2), 107-116. 10.1080/02813432.2020.1753334
Objective: The aim of this study was to describe patients assessed for cognitive decline in primary healthcare, compared to patients assessed in specialist healthcare and to examine factors associated with depression. Design: This was an observational study. Setting: Fourteen outpatient clinics and 33 general practitioners and municipality memory teams across Norway. Subjects: A total of 226 patients assessed in primary healthcare and 1595 patients assessed in specialist healthcare outpatient clinics. Main outcome measures: Cornell scale for depression in dementia (CSDD), Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE), Clock drawing test, Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly (IQCODE), Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, Personal Self-Maintenance Scale, Relatives’ stress scale (RSS), and Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire (NPI-Q) Results: Patients assessed in primary healthcare were older (mean age 81.3 vs 73.0 years), less educated, had poorer cognition (MMSE median 22 vs 25), more limitations in activities of daily living (ADL), more behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), more depressive symptoms (CSDD median 7 vs 5), more often lived alone (60% vs 41%) and were more often diagnosed with dementia (86% vs 47%) compared to patients diagnosed in specialist healthcare. Depression was associated with female gender, older age, more severe decline in cognitive functioning (IQCODE, OR 1.65), higher caregiver burden (RSS, OR 1.10) and with being assessed in primary healthcare (OR 1.53). Conclusion: Post-diagnostic support tailored to patients diagnosed with dementia in primary healthcare should consider their poor cognitive function and limitations in ADL and that these people often live alone, have BPSD and depression.