n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Evidence-based interventions for dementia in general practice : main topic

Volume 21, Issue 9
  • ISSN : 0256-2170



Dementia is a progressive failure of most cerebral functions. It is a syndrome which may be caused by a number of different illnesses. It is not a part of normal ageing. It is rare in people under 60 years and increases in prevalence at later ages. <br>General practitioners have a central role in the diagnosis and management of dementia. Despite this, they receive little training in the undergraduate curriculum in the management of dementia. Therefore, they sometimes face difficulties in the management of some patients. <br>Non-pharmacological intervention strategies for dementia in general practice are important. <br>Behavioural disturbances such as depression, agitation, aggression, wandering about and sleep disturbances affect most if not all patients at some point in the course of the disease. <br>Empirical data from clinical trials indicate that behavioural problems in dementia can be effectively managed with non-pharmacological treatment. <br>Family caregivers are often 'hidden patients', with health care needs that are neglected or ignored because the patient's needs are so overwhelming. <br>Caregivers are at significant risk for both psychiatric and physical morbidity. <br>The majority of the studies report improvements in disruptive behaviours as a result of practical, clinical and educative interventions which can be undertaken by general practitioners.

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