University of Hertfordshire

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  • Anne-Marie Burn
  • Jane Fleming
  • Carol Brayne
  • Chris Fox
  • Frances Bunn
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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere020521
JournalBMJ Open
Journal publication date17 Mar 2018
Volume8
Issue3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2018

Abstract

Objectives In 2012-2013, the English National Health Service mandated hospitals to conduct systematic case-finding of people with dementia among older people with unplanned admissions. The method was not defined. The aim of this study was to understand current approaches to dementia case-finding in acute hospitals in England and explore the views of healthcare professionals on perceived benefits and challenges. Design Qualitative study involving interviews, focus groups and thematic content analysis. Setting Primary care and secondary care across six counties in the East of England. Participants Hospital staff involved in dementia case-finding and primary care staff in the catchment areas of those hospitals. Results We recruited 23 hospital staff and 36 primary care staff, including 30 general practitioners (GPs). Analysis resulted in three themes: (1) lack of consistent approaches in case-finding processes, (2) barriers between primary care and secondary care which impact on case-finding outcomes and (3) perceptions of rationale, aims and impacts of case-finding. The study shows that there were variations in how well hospitals recorded and reported outcomes to GPs. Barriers between primary care and secondary care, including GPs' lack of access to hospital investigations and lack of clarity about roles and responsibilities, impacted case-finding outcomes. Staff in secondary care were more positive about the initiative than primary care staff, and there were conflicting priorities for primary care and secondary care regarding case-finding. Conclusions The study suggests a more evidence-based approach was needed to justify approaches to dementia case-finding. Information communicated to primary care from hospitals needs to be comprehensive, appropriate and consistent before GPs can effectively plan further investigation, treatment or care. Follow-up in primary care further requires access to options for postdiagnostic support. There is a need to evaluate the outcomes for patients and the economic impact on health and care services across settings.

Notes

© Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2018. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted. This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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