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Title: What is the role of the general practitioner towards the family caregiver of a community-dwelling demented relative?. A systematic literature review
Authors: Schoenmakers, Birgitte ×
Buntinx, Frank
De Lepeleire, Jan #
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Almqvist & Wiksell Periodical Co.
Series Title: Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care vol:27 issue:1 pages:31-40
Abstract: Abstract
Objective. To identify the attitudes and perspectives of the family physician towards the caregivers of demented relatives and
to describe the caregivers’ satisfaction. Design. Systematic review. Subjects. The studied population consisted of dementia
family and their general practitioners. Main outcome measures. Outcome measures were the generic tasks and skills of the
general practitioner to improve home care from the perspective of the family caregiver. Caregivers were assessed on
satisfaction regarding the care provided by their general practitioner. Results. The general practitioner is aware of his/her
skills and limits in all aspects of dementia care and his/her role towards the family caregiver. They also acknowledged the
importance of an adequate diagnostic process, but they felt uncomfortable disclosing the diagnosis to both the patient and
the caregiver. They reported having more confidence in treatment matters than in diagnostic stages. Caregivers’ reports on
the attitude of their general practitioner in the diagnostic process were rated from helpful to poorly empathized. General
practitioners found themselves to be highly involved in dementia home care, but caregivers rated their involvement to be
insufficient. The lack of appropriate communication skills of general practitioners was also not appreciated by the
caregivers. A lack of time and reward was considered by the general practitioner to be a major obstacle in dementia care.
Conclusion. The key role of general practitioners as care providers and care planners is consolidated by the family caregivers’
confidence in their skills. Clear guidelines from early diagnosis to adequate referrals should improve the ability of the general
practitioner to support these time and energy-consuming home-care situations. Intervention studies addressing the gaps in
the skills of the general practitioners in dementia home care management could be helpful in supporting the family
caregiver.
URI: 
ISSN: 0281-3432
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Academic Center for General Practice
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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