Meeting NewsPerspective

Educational interventions help clinicians improve care of patients with cognitive decline, dementia

Educational interventions provided several ways for clinicians to enhance the care they provide to their patients with cognitive decline and dementia, according to the results of systematic review presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.

Xin Xu, PhD, at the National University of Singapore, reviewed 13 studies consisting of 65 general practices and 2,389 patients.

She found moderate evidence that: postgraduate students who engaged in a traditional learning intervention had higher mean knowledge scores of cognitive impairment and dementia compared with those who only had a consultation; eLearning interventions increased the number of patients diagnosed with dementia vs. no intervention; and a blended learning intervention increased referral rates of patients with dementia or cognitive impairment.

Other studies concluded: traditional learning intervention increased the number of cases of dementia vs. no intervention and blended learning interventions increased the number of cognitive assessments and dementia diagnoses as well as clinicians' attitude toward dementia screening. – by Janel Miller

Reference: Xu X. Educational interventions for improving clinicians' clinical competencies to detect, diagnose, and manage people with cognitive impairment and dementia. Presented at: Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. July 14-18, 2019; Los Angeles.

Disclosure: Healio Primary Care was unable to determine Xu’s relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.

Educational interventions provided several ways for clinicians to enhance the care they provide to their patients with cognitive decline and dementia, according to the results of systematic review presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.

Xin Xu, PhD, at the National University of Singapore, reviewed 13 studies consisting of 65 general practices and 2,389 patients.

She found moderate evidence that: postgraduate students who engaged in a traditional learning intervention had higher mean knowledge scores of cognitive impairment and dementia compared with those who only had a consultation; eLearning interventions increased the number of patients diagnosed with dementia vs. no intervention; and a blended learning intervention increased referral rates of patients with dementia or cognitive impairment.

Other studies concluded: traditional learning intervention increased the number of cases of dementia vs. no intervention and blended learning interventions increased the number of cognitive assessments and dementia diagnoses as well as clinicians' attitude toward dementia screening. – by Janel Miller

Reference: Xu X. Educational interventions for improving clinicians' clinical competencies to detect, diagnose, and manage people with cognitive impairment and dementia. Presented at: Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. July 14-18, 2019; Los Angeles.

Disclosure: Healio Primary Care was unable to determine Xu’s relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.

    Perspective
    Christian Camargo

    Christian Camargo

    As the number of people with mild cognitive impairment and dementia continues to grow, it becomes increasingly important to recognize these conditions. An accurate and early diagnosis permits clinicians to implement steps towards prevention and intervention. While there are certain clinicians with specific expertise on the matter, such as neurologists, primary care physicians and general practitioners are more likely to be the first clinical encounter for patients bearing cognitive concerns. Educating these practitioners in clinical competency relating to cognitive disorders is therefore increasingly important. However, which methods work the best for the physicians? And, what impact do these methods have?

    Xu’s research looked at various clinical trials that assessed several different outcomes of physician education programs. She found that the programs ranged in the manner of delivery, from e-learning to traditional. In general, these studies demonstrated several improvements as a consequence of educational programs — from improvements in diagnostic accuracy to changing physician attitudes towards dementia. In fact, the studies found that these programs increased the number of cognitive impairment diagnoses and specialist referrals.

    The findings of this review may implicate an expanded role for physician educational programs in the management of cognitive illness. Additional prospective studies would be necessary to confirm the findings of this review, and if they generalize to different practice environments. Whether or not these programs directly affect patient outcomes remains an important question, as well.

    • Christian Camargo, MD
    • division of cognitive neurology assistant professor, department of neurology
      University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

    Disclosures: Healio Primary Care was unable to determine Camargo’s relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.

    See more from Alzheimer's Association International Conference