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Screening for dementia in primary care: how is it measuring up?

Alison Culverwell (Kent and Medway Partnership Trust)
Alisoun Milne (Social Gerontology at the Tizard Centre, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent)
Reinhard Guss (Kent and Medway Partnership Trust)
Jackie Tuppen (Kent and Medway Partnership Trust)

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

ISSN: 1471-7794

Article publication date: 1 September 2008



Despite evidence that early identification of dementia is of growing policy and practice significance in the UK, limited work has been done on evaluating screening measures for use in primary care. The aim of this paper is to offer a clinically informed synthesis of research and practice‐based evidence on the utility, efficacy and quality of dementia screening measures. The study has three elements: a review of research literature; a small‐scale survey of measures employed in three primary care trusts; and a systematic clinical evaluation of the most commonly used screening instruments. The authors integrated data from research and clinical sources. The General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition (GPCOG), Memory Impairment Screen (MIS) and Mini‐Cognitive Assessment Instrument (Mini‐Cog) were found to be: brief; easy to administer; clinically acceptable; effective; minimally affected by education, gender, and ethnicity; and to have psychometric properties similar to the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). Although the MMSE is widely used in the UK, this project identifies the GPCOG, MIS and Mini‐Cog as more appropriate for routine use in primary care. A coherent review of evidence coupled with an in‐depth evaluation of screening instruments has the potential to enhance ability and commitment to early intervention in primary care and, as part of a wider educational strategy, improve the quality and consistency of dementia screening.



Culverwell, A., Milne, A., Guss, R. and Tuppen, J. (2008), "Screening for dementia in primary care: how is it measuring up?", Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 39-44.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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