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Dealing with Dementia in Family Practice



Ed Bader, MA, Associate Professor (Retired), Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of Toronto; Project Coordinator, Focus on Fathers Project, York Region, Ontario;

Ruth Brooks, MD, CCFP, Staff Physician Women’s College Hospital; Assistant Professor, Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of Toronto

Einat Danieli, BOT, ROT, Psychogeriatric Resource Consultant, PRC Program of Toronto, Cyril & Dorothy Joel & Jill Reitman Centre for Alzheimer’s Support and Training, Toronto, ON

Working With Families Institute, Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of Toronto

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND

Posted: April 10, 2014    Format: PDF
Dealing with Dementia in Family Practice

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Views: 312

Category(s): Care of the Elderly, Clinical (by system), Clinical (by topic), End of Life Care, Neurology, Psychiatry
Topic(s): Dementia, End Of Life Care, Working With Families


With the aging of the Canadian population, family physicians (FPs) will be seeing increasing numbers of elderly patients with dementia. The number of Canadians with dementia is expected to reach more than 1.1 million by 2038. It is the most significant cause of disability among Canadians over age 65. Within 20 years, worldwide prevalence is predicted to increase twofold.1,2 The average FP has 30-40 patients with dementia in his or her practice, and this number is expected to rise.3 Often, FPs are the only physicians caring for these patients and in many cases for their families too. The care of patients with dementia involves complex medical, psychiatric, social, ethical, and family issues. Many challenges arise for patients and families during the initial diagnosis of dementia and in the later stages. FPs care best for patients with dementia when they work in partnership with families and use community resources. This module includes many references and resources of interest to physicians and families.

This is one educational module in a series produced by the Working With Families Institute to provide a learning resource for physicians dealing with common medical and psychosocial issues that have an impact on families. The modules seek to bridge the gap between current and best practice, and provide opportunities for physicians to enhance or change their approach to a particular clinical problem. They use a problem-based style and real case scenarios that pose questions to the reader. The cases are followed by an information section based on the latest evidence, case commentaries, references and resources. The modules are designed for either individual learning or small group discussion.