The Singapore Family Physician

Back to issue Vol 44 No. 3 - Osteoporosis

General Practitioners' Perceptions of Dementia Care and Management in Singapore

Fiona Devi, Saleha Shafie, Lau Ying Wen, Chua Boon Yiang, Ong Hui Lin, Sophia Foo, Ng Li Ling, Alvin Lum, Siow Ann Chong, Janhavi Ajit Vaingankar, Mythily Subramaniam
The Singapore Family Physician Vol 44 No 3 - Osteoporosis
54 - 59
1 July 2018
Objective: The current study explored the perceptions of GPs on barriers to care for dementia patients, reasons for referring them to tertiary hospitals for dementia-related symptoms, and the types of training and support that GPs would like to have to provide better dementia care in Singapore. Method: A total of 400 respondents completed the barriers to care in dementia management and training needs questionnaire, yielding a response rate of 52.3 percent. An invitation letter with a web link to the online survey form and a hardcopy of the questionnaires were mailed to GP clinics. The survey form was completed either online or by mailing back the hardcopy questionnaire. Results: Most GPs (n=391; 98 percent) agreed that the main barrier was that dementia patients tend to require more consultation time. The most common reason cited by GPs (n= 327; 82%) for referring patients to tertiary hospitals was the severity of symptoms. Out of 226 GPs who were agreeable to managing dementia patients, 75 percent (n=170) of them identified the fact that having direct access to a multidisciplinary team would support them in providing dementia care. Web-based training on the management of dementia patients (n=148; 65%) was the top training need recognised. Conclusion: GPs play a crucial role in managing dementia care in Singapore. The main difficulty they face is the longer consultation that a dementia patient requires and the need for support through multidisciplinary care. Web-based training programmes on diagnosis and management of dementia patients would address GPs’ uncertainties and equip them to better promote dementia care in Singapore