Département de médecine générale, Université Montpellier I, France, Epsylon (EA4556), Montpellier, France, Université Montpellier1, Montpellier, France, Inserm, Isped, Centre Inserm U897-épidemiologie-biostatistique,
Bordeaux, France, Inserm, U1061, Montpellier, France
Background: the analysis of access to diagnosis and care pathway for dementia patients shows that the disease is not considered as a priority for the general practitioner (GP). Different studies have point out under diagnosis of dementia.
Purpose: the purpose of this qualitative study was to document the determinants of the diagnosis and management of dementia by GP.
Methods: recruitment of GPs (n = 12) was made from incident cases of dementia who were identified during the follow-up of subject enrolled in the 3 Cities cohort study. A semi-structured interview was conducted with an interview guide focused on the experience of the doctors. A phenomenological and pragmatic analysis, taking into account all the linguistic and extralinguistic evidence contained in the transcript was conducted.
Results: several emerging categories have been described: the doctors believe that the management of Alzheimer's disease is a public health problem and not an individual, the positioning of the GP in the care system is central. Determinants that influence the management are the identity of the physician, the impression of a fuzzy nosology, the finding of a therapeutic ineffectiveness, the priority given to severe co-morbidities and the workload of the general practitioner. However, the ordering of these categories according to the pragmatic phenomenological approach showed that the identity of the doctor, professional and personal, is at the origin of behavioral variability in their medical care.
Conclusion: in a context of increased workload, the GP favors the assumption of comorbidities in the elderly given fuzzy nosology of dementia and uncertainty about the therapeutic efficacy. The phenomenological approach allows understanding that the human identity of the doctor, personal and professional identity, is the major factor that influence its care attitude for demented patients.