A Review of Diagnostic Process and Postdiagnostic Support for People With Dementia in Rural Areas Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Purpose: Early diagnosis of dementia allows the affected individuals to make plans, and helps services to identify and act on need. Previous work has suggested that obtaining an early diagnosis in rural areas can be difficult. This paper discusses diagnosis and postdiagnostic support for people with dementia, with a focus on service delivery in rural areas. Methods: A review of published English language literature 1999 to 2011 identified in Medline, PsycINFO, PubMed, Cochrane Library, and ScienceDirect. Results: Primary care services play a key role in accessing services in many health care systems. The role of primary care staff, and in particular general practitioners, is greatest in rural communities where specialist service access is often reduced. Despite this, rural staff often report limited training on supporting people with dementia. Postdiagnostic services can be more difficult to access in rural areas, and informal caregivers in rural areas can be more reluctant to seek such services. Transport difficulties and distance from specialist services can act as a barrier to service use. Memory services have been offered in both rural and urban areas. Conclusions: Addressing stigma, supporting staff, and signposting access are important in all areas, but seem to be particularly important in rural areas. Training and support for general staff in rural areas can be improved. Memory services provide one way of delivering services in rural areas. Service planners should take negative perceptions of dementia, barriers to access, and training of generalist service providers into account when designing dementia services in rural areas.

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publication date

  • October 2011