Patients' attitudes of dementia screening across the Atlantic

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Dementia is a common and growing global public health problem. It leads to a high burden of suffering for society with an annual cost of $100 billion in the US and $10 billion in the UK. New strategies for both treatment and prevention of dementia are currently being developed. Implementation of these strategies will depend on the presence of a viable community or primary care based dementia screening and diagnosis program and patient acceptance of such a program.


To compare the acceptance, perceived harms and perceived benefits of dementia screening among older adults receiving their care in two different primary health care systems in two countries.


A Cross-sectional study.


Primary care clinics in Indianapolis, USA and Kent, UK.


A convenience sample of 245 older adults (Indianapolis, n = 125; Kent, n = 120).


Acceptance of dementia screening and its perceived harms and benefits as determined by a 52-item questionnaire (PRISM-PC questionnaire).


Four of the five domains were significantly different across the two samples. The UK sample had significantly higher dementia screening acceptance scores (p<0.05); higher perceived stigma scores (p<0.05); higher perceived loss of independence scores (p<0.01); and higher perceived suffering scores (p<0.01) than the US sample. Both groups perceived dementia screening as beneficial (p=0.218). After controlling for prior experience with dementia, acceptance and stigma were marginalized.


Older adults attending primary care clinics across the Atlantic value dementia screening but have significant concerns about dementia screening although these concerns differed between the two countries. Low acceptance rates and high rates of perceived harms might be a significant barrier for the introduction of treatment or preventive methods for dementia in the future.

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