[Psychologists and openness concerning the diagnosis of dementia to the patient: exploratory research].


AIM To explore the openness about the diagnosis dementia amongst psychologists the following questions were asked. What is their opinion about openness concerning the diagnosis of dementia? What do they actually tell their patients? Why do or don't they mention dementia? METHOD A semistructured questionnaire was given to 17 psychologists working in the North of the Netherlands. They were asked to report on their intention to be open about the diagnosis dementia in general and after neuropsychological examination of 90 patients. These answers were compared to what was actually said to the 90 patients. The collected data have been analyzed mainly qualitatively. RESULTS Essentially psychologists believe that patients need to be informed openly about the diagnosis of dementia. In practice nearly all psychologists also intended to mention the diagnosis of dementia. However, in about a third of the cases, where the results indicated dementia, this was not mentioned openly. Whether or not the diagnosis dementia is discussed openly and in which way, appears to depend on the context and the clarity of the diagnosis, the wishes and reaction of the carer and whether the patient is judged to be able to cope. CONCLUSION Just like physicians, psychologists are not, as a matter of course, open about the diagnosis of dementia to their patients. Circumstances appear to guide them more than their own opinion about what is appropriate.

Cite this paper

@article{Kootte2008PsychologistsAO, title={[Psychologists and openness concerning the diagnosis of dementia to the patient: exploratory research].}, author={M Kootte and Nardi Steverink}, journal={Tijdschrift voor gerontologie en geriatrie}, year={2008}, volume={39 3}, pages={90-9} }