Many Elderly Dementia Patients Go Unevaluated

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Many elderly patients with dementia do not receive clinical evaluations for cognitive impairment from a physician, according to a study published in Neurology.

Almost half of the participants with dementia in their study had never received a clinical cognitive evaluation, reported Vikas Kotagal, MD, MS, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., and colleagues.

The researchers sought to discover what factors influenced whether an elderly patient with dementia in the United States would receive a clinical evaluation of cognitive impairment.

The study included 297 of the 845 participants of the Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study (ADAMS) who met the criteria for dementia after an in-person examination. The researchers looked at demographic, socioeconomic, and clinical factors for each participant with dementia.

Proxies for the participants were asked to report whether or not the patient had ever received a clinical cognitive evaluation outside of ADAMS.

Out of these 297 patients, 55.2% reported no history of a clinical cognitive evaluation by a physician. After breaking down the data by demographics, the researchers found that marital status was the only significant independent predictor of receiving a clinical cognitive evaluation: Those who were currently married had a 2.63 times increased likelihood of receiving an evaluation.

Dementia evaluation
Many Elderly Dementia Patients Go Unevaluated

This study aimed to explore factors associated with clinical evaluations for cognitive impairment among older residents of the United States.

Vikas Kotagal, MD, MS, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., and colleagues found that of the 297 participants with dementia in ADAMS, 55.2% (representing about 1.8 million elderly Americans in 2002) reported no history of a clinical cognitive evaluation by a physician. In a multivariable logistic regression model (n = 297) controlling for demographics, physical function measures, and dementia severity, marital status (odds ratio for currently married: 2.63 [95% confidence interval: 1.10–6.35]) was the only significant independent predictor of receiving a clinical cognitive evaluation among subjects with study-confirmed dementia.

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