The Art of Sharing the Diagnosis and Management of Alzheimer’s Disease With Patients and Caregivers: Recommendations of an Expert Consensus Panel

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Objective: To develop a set of recommendations for primary care physicians (PCPs) suggesting how best to communicate with patients, caregivers, and other family members regarding the diagnosis and management of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Participants: A national roundtable of 6 leading professionals involved in treating or advocating for patients with AD was convened on March 14, 2008. This roundtable included 4 leading academic physicians with diverse backgrounds (a geriatric psychiatrist, a neuropsychiatrist, a neurologist, and a geriatrician) from geographically diverse regions of the United States, who were invited on the basis of their national reputation in the field and experience working with minority populations with dementia; the executive director of a national AD advocacy organization; the executive director of a national advocacy organization for caregivers; and a medical correspondent with expertise in interviewing and small group leadership.

Evidence: Expert opinion supported by academic literature (search limited to PubMed, English language, 1996–2008, search terms: Alzheimer’s disease, primary care, diagnosis, management, caregiver, family, patient-physician relationship).

Consensus Process: Moderated dialogue aimed at generating consensus opinion; only statements endorsed by all authors were included in the final article.

Conclusions: Diagnosis and management of AD by PCPs, utilizing specialist consultation as needed, may contribute to earlier diagnosis and treatment, improved doctor-patient and doctor-caregiver communication, increased attention to caregiver needs, and better clinical and quality-of-life outcomes for patients and caregivers. A set of expert panel recommendations describing practical strategies for achieving these goals was successfully developed.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2010;12(1):e1-e9

Submitted: May 4, 2009; accepted July 23, 2009.

Published online: February 25, 2010 (doi:10.4088/PCC.09cs00833oli).

Corresponding author: George T. Grossberg, MD, Department of Psychiatry, St Louis University School of Medicine, 1438 S. Grand Blvd, St Louis, MO 63104 (grossbgt@slu.edu).

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2010;12(1):e1-e9

https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.09cs00833oli