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Trend: Increased access to cognitive screenings in primary care settings serving older adults

healthcareITNov­el Ini­tia­tive Ups Cog­ni­tive Screen­ing in Geri­atric Patients (Med­scape):

A res­i­dent-run ini­tia­tive in a geri­atric clin­ic clear­ly shows that when screen­ing for cog­ni­tive impair­ment becomes a pri­or­i­ty, to screen all patients opens the door toward time­ly inter­ven­tion and opti­mized out­comes in this high-risk pop­u­la­tion.…The goal of the project was to imple­ment a stan­dard­ized process that would increase the num­ber of geri­atric patients who under­went base­line cog­ni­tive screen­ing.

Com­ment­ing on the find­ings for Med­scape Med­ical News, Zaldy Tan, MD, MPH, med­ical direc­tor, Alzheimer’s and Demen­tia Care Pro­gram, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les, not­ed that demen­tia, cog­ni­tive impair­ment, and espe­cial­ly Alzheimer’s dis­ease are under­diag­nosed and under­rec­og­nized in the pri­ma­ry care set­ting in the Unit­ed States.

Although the US Pre­ven­tive Ser­vices Task Force does not rec­om­mend rou­tine screen­ing for demen­tia in pri­ma­ry care prac­tice, it is appro­pri­ate to screen patients such as those screened in the cur­rent study, who were being treat­ed in a geri­atric clin­ic, Dr Tan added…Dr Tan also empha­sized that physi­cians need to iden­ti­fy peo­ple with cog­ni­tive impair­ment because, although there is still no cure for demen­tia, “there are a lot of inter­ven­tions that can impact patient’s lives, start­ing off with FDA-approved med­ica­tions for demen­tia, more care­giv­er edu­ca­tion and sup­port groups, and we can enroll patients into clin­i­cal tri­als if avail­able as well,” he said.

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