A Review of Barriers and Enablers to Diagnosis and Management of Persons with Dementia in Primary Care

Faranak Aminzadeh, Frank J. Molnar, William B. Dalziel, Debbie Ayotte



With the rise in the prevalence of dementia disorders and the growing critical impact of dementia on health-care resources, the provision of dementia care has increasingly come under scrutiny, with primary care physicians (PCP) being at the centre of such attention.


To critically examine barriers and enablers to timely diagnosis and optimal management of community living persons with dementia (PWD) in primary care.


An interpretive scoping review was used to synthesize and analyze an extensive body of heterogeneous Western literature published over the past decade.


The current primary care systems in many Western countries, including Canada, face many challenges in providing responsive, comprehensive, safe, and cost-effective dementia care. This paper has identified a multitude of highly inter-related obstacles to optimal primary dementia care, including challenges related to: a) the complex biomedical, psychosocial, and ethical nature of the condition; b) the gaps in knowledge, skills, attitudes, and resources of PWD/caregivers and their primary care providers; and c) the broader systemic and structural barriers negatively affecting the context of dementia care.


Further progress will require a coordinated campaign and significantly increased levels of commitment and effort, which should be ideally orchestrated by national dementia strategies focusing on the barriers and enablers identified in this paper.


dementia; primary care; health-care utilization; diagnosis and management; intervention studies

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5770/cgj.15.42


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ISSN: 1925-8348 (Online)