Please login to the form below

Not currently logged in

Alzheimer’s Association report highlights need to improve patient-physician communication

Both individuals and primary care physicians reported a reluctance to address cognitive concerns

Memory decline

A new report from the Alzheimer’s Association has highlighted a need to improve patient-physician communication surrounding cognitive concerns.

Following results from its 2023 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, the organisation said that a reluctance by the public and doctors to address memory and thinking worries hinders diagnosis and access to potential new treatments.

“Providing the best possible care for Alzheimer’s disease requires conversations about memory at the earliest point of concern and a knowledgeable, accessible care team that includes physician specialists to diagnose, monitor disease progression and treat when appropriate,” said Maria Carrillo, chief science officer, Alzheimer’s Association.

An accompanying report, The Patient Journey In an Era of New Treatments, also provides new insights from patients and primary care physicians (PCPs) on the current barriers to addressing cognitive concerns.

Most focus group participants said their memory and thinking problems would need to have a significant negative impact on their quality of life in order for them to think about beginning a discussion with their physician.

The report also found that concerns about being given an incorrect diagnosis, learning of a serious health problem and receiving unnecessary treatment also made people reluctant to raise the issue.

Different racial and ethnic groups also expressed concerns about care delivery and specific barriers to care, which influences their interactions with healthcare providers.

“For the first time in nearly two decades, there is a class of treatments emerging to treat early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. It’s more important than ever for individuals to act quickly if they have memory concerns or experience symptoms,” Carrillo said.

Alongside the reluctance from individuals, the focus groups revealed that PCPs are not proactively asking their patients about cognitive issues either.

During the sessions, PCPs said they usually wait until family members bring concerns to their attention.

They also expressed concerns about how patients will be cared for following a dementia diagnosis in light of specialist shortages and few referral options.

“Both physicians and patients need to make discussions about cognition a routine part of interactions,” said Nicole Purcell, a neurologist and senior director, clinical practice, Alzheimer’s Association.

“These new treatments treat mild cognitive impairment or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease with confirmation of amyloid, so it’s really important that conversations between patients and doctors happen early or as soon as symptoms occur, while treatment is still possible and offers the greatest benefit,” she added.

Article by
Emily Kimber

17th March 2023

From: Research



Subscribe to our email news alerts


Add my company
Merrill Brink International

Merrill Brink International is a leading provider of life sciences, legal, financial, manufacturing and corporate language solutions for global companies....

Latest intelligence

The speed of science and the pace of comms
Pharma red tape slows comms but there is a solution, Paul Hutchings, founder of fox&cat, writes....
Improving cardiovascular disease care and awareness
Scott Curley talks to PME about the risks of CVD and the importance of getting the right treatment at the right time...
Virtual Patient Engagement Program: A Customer Story
Our client wanted to better understand the needs, preferences, and treatment gaps among adult patients with a rare genetic disease......