Help-seeking preferences in the area of mild cognitive impairment: comparing family physicians and the lay public
Perla Werner,1 Jeremia Heinik,2 Shmuel Giveon,3 Dikla Segel-Karpas,1 Eliezer Kitai4
1Center for the Research and Study of Aging, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel; 2Margoletz Psychogeriatric Center, Ichilov Hospital, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel; 3Clalit Health Services, Tel Aviv, Israel; 4Department of Family Medicine, Leumit Health Services, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
Background: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild neurocognitive disorder is a well-established clinical entity included in current diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer's disease and in major psychiatric classifications. In all, a loosely defined concern obtained from conceptually different sources (the individual, a knowledgeable informant, or a clinician) regarding a decline in cognition and change in functioning constitutes a sine qua non for initiating diagnostics and providing therapy and support. This concern in practice may translate into complex proactive help-seeking behavior. A better understanding of help-seeking preferences is required in order to promote early detection and management.
Objectives: To compare help-seeking preferences of family physicians and the lay public in the area of MCI.
Methods: A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 197 family physicians (self-administered) and 517 persons aged 45 and over from the lay public (face to face). Information regarding familiarity with MCI and help-seeking preferences was assessed.
Results: The vast majority in both samples reported that family physician, spouse, and children are the most highly recommended sources of help-seeking. In regard to professional sources of help-seeking, a higher percentage of the physicians than the lay public sample consistently recommended seeking help from nurses and social workers and psychiatrists, but a higher percentage of the lay public recommended turning to a neurologist for help.
Discussion: There were both similarities and differences between family physicians and the lay public in their preferences regarding help-seeking for a person with MCI. Most prominent is the physicians' greater tendency to recommend professional sources of help-seeking.
Conclusion: Understanding of help-seeking preferences of both physicians and lay persons might help overcome barriers for establishing diagnosis, receiving care, and improving communication between doctors and patients.
Keywords: lay persons, barriers, doctors, patients
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