Family carers' accounts of general practice contacts for their relatives with early signs of dementia

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The role of families in supporting people with dementia is widely acknowledged in literature and UK government policy. The role of general practice in ensuring early and effective support for people living with mental health problems including dementia is also enshrined in UK policy. As part of a larger study, a total of 12 2 carers were asked to rate predefined aspects of the primary care response. For some responses they were also asked to provide a reason for their rating. The purpose of this study was to examine carers' accounts of contacts with general practitioners (GPs) and general practice teams when they were first approached with concerns about their relative. Findings suggest that, on average, carers rate the service as being at least ‘good’. However, their accounts describe a wide variety of experiences and demonstrate that expressed satisfaction does not necessarily reflect a satisfactory service. Both practitioner-related and carer-related issues were cited as reasons for their ratings. Implications for practice and research are discussed.

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