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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 18(3)

Influence of rurality on diagnosing dementia in Australian general practice

Angela Greenway-Crombie A F, Pamela Snow B, Peter Disler C, Sam Davis D and Dimity Pond E

A Monash University School of Rural Health, Collaborative Health Education and Research Centre, PO Box 126, Bendigo, Vic. 3552, Australia.
B Monash University School of Psychology and Psychiatry, PO Box 666, Bendigo, Vic. 3552, Australia.
C Monash University School of Rural Health, PO Box 666, Bendigo, Vic. 3552, Australia.
D Palliative and Supportive Services, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia.
E School of Medicine and Public Health, Discipline of General Practice, Newcastle University, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.
F Corresponding author. Email: acrombie@bendigohealth.org.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 18(3) 178-184 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/PY12008
Submitted: 13 July 2011  Accepted: 6 March 2012   Published: 1 May 2012

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This article reviews the literature concerning barriers in making a diagnosis of dementia in general practice and examines these from a rural perspective. It is proposed that the increasing prevalence of dementia in coming years in Australia will be felt most keenly in rural communities where there are already shortages of GPs and dementia-specific services to manage growing demand. Evidence suggests that dementia is often not specifically diagnosed by GPs and that this is a global issue. There are many barriers to the diagnosis of dementia in general practice, including time constraints, diagnostic uncertainty, denial of symptoms by patients and families, and stigma. This review examines these barriers and their impact on making a dementia diagnosis from a rural general practice perspective. Identification of these practice issues and their influence on service delivery is essential to inform relevant policy decisions and to improve dementia management in rural general practice.


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