Psychologie & NeuroPsychiatrie du vieillissement


Nurses in geriatrics and Alzheimer’s disease: knowledge, image, and common practice-results from a survey in a French area (Alsace) Volume 5, issue 2, Juin 2007


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Psychopathologie clinique, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg

From the data of a multicentric investigation, performed in a French area (Alsace) using questionnaires filled by 800 geriatrics nurses, the author analyses their current knowledge and representations of Alzheimer’s disease, their attitudes and practice concerning the disclosure of the diagnosis to the patients, and the influence of these data for the patients care. The results show three principal common aspects: first very important gaps, difficulties and contradictions concerning Alzheimer’s disease knowledge; then heavy feelings of incompetence, loneliness, and therapeutic inanity with regard to the problems of their practice; last of all, their requests insisting on their need of information, formation, and aid, all missing for them. The nurses’ language was devoid of specific and professional contents. It was similar to the general public, mediatic, and societal speeches, loaded with aprioristic assertions, reducing Alzheimer’s disease to an organic process of humanity decline. This alarming picture calls to question its ground, mechanisms and solutions concerning the needs conveyed by the nurses, and the pertinency of the common concept of Alzheimer’s disease. It enjoins to reconsider the nurses formation and a transdisciplinar further reflection about the notion of Alzheimer’s disease and the messages which are transmitted by it.