The views of general practitioners on advance care planning for patients living with dementia

Kevin Brazil, G. Carter, K. Galway, J. van der Steen

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Background Advance care planning (ACP) facilitates communication
and understanding of preferences, nevertheless the use of
ACPs in primary care for patients with dementia is low. The disease’s
uncertain course and the inability to communicate with
the patient living with dementia are significant challenges for
Aim The purpose of this study was to describe the attitudes and
practice preferences of GPs working within the UK’s National
Health System (NHS) regarding communication, and decisionmaking
for patients with dementia and their families
Methods A cross-sectional survey, using a purposive, cluster sample
of GPs across Northern Ireland with registered dementia
patients was used.
Results One hundred and thirty-three GPs (40.6%) participated
in the survey, representing 60.9% of surveyed practices. While
most respondents regarded dementia as a terminal disease
(96.2%) only 37.6% felt that palliative care applied equally from
the time of diagnosis to severe dementia. While most respondents
thought that early discussions would facilitate decision-making
during advanced dementia (61%), respondents were divided
on whether ACP should be initiated at the time of diagnoses
(39.8% in favour vs 45.8% disagreed). Interestingly, GPs who
were longer in practice placed greater importance on the presence
of an advance directive (F (2, 124) = 3.38, p = 0.037).
Discussion The timing of initiating ACP varies across individuals
requiring GPs to carefully consider strategies and receptiveness
of the patient and family carer.
Conclusion The findings promote both ongoing training in communication
and dementia management for GPs to meet the
needs of their patients living with dementia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A23-24
Number of pages2
JournalBMJ Supportive and Palliative Care
Issue numberSuppl 2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015
EventThe 5th International Conference on Advance Care Planning and End of Life - Munich, Germany
Duration: 09 Sep 201512 Sep 2015

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