Role Of General Practitioners And Primary Care Providers

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2. Primary Care/General Practice Role of general practitioners/primary care providers in diagnosing dementia Primary care physicians (PCP) play a crucial role in dementia diagnosis. Older patients receive healthcare primarily from their general practitioners (GPs). [51, 52] Most patients and carers prefer their GPs to be the first source of professional help when dealing with dementia. [53-55] The Australian guidelines advocate early diagnosis by timely exploration of symptoms raised by patients and carers. [14] It would be reasonable for GPs to initiate the diagnostic process for suspected dementia cases before referring to specialists or memory clinics for confirmation of diagnosis. Following a formal diagnosis, GPs are expected to provide ongoing management and follow up, with adequate monitoring of efficacy and side effects of dementia modulating drugs; detection, prevention and treatment of dementia complications such as Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD), falls, malnutrition; and appropriate referrals to support services. [56-60] The disclosure of dementia diagnosis should be a shared responsibility between specialists and GPs, with GPs exploring patients ' perceptions about symptoms and initiating tentative discussions about possible diagnoses prior to referral to specialists and provide ongoing emotional and practical support post diagnosis. [61] Although discussion of advanced care planning, legal issues and driving may be raised by

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