Case Finding of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia and Subsequent Care; Results of a Cluster RCT in Primary Care

Pim van den Dungen, Eric P. Moll van Charante, Peter M. van de Ven, Harm W. J. van Marwijk, Henriëtte E. van der Horst, Hein P. J. van Hout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Despite a call for earlier diagnosis of dementia, the diagnostic yield of case finding and its impact on the mental health of patients and relatives are unclear. This study assessed the effect of a two-component intervention of case finding and subsequent care on these outcomes. In a cluster RCT we assessed whether education of family physicians (FPs; trial stage 1) resulted in more mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia diagnoses among older persons in whom FPs suspected cognitive decline and whether case finding by a practice nurse and the FP (trial stage 2) added to this number of diagnoses. In addition, we assessed mental health effects of case finding and subsequent care (trial stage 2). FPs of 15 primary care practices (PCPs = clusters) judged the cognitive status of all persons ≥ 65 years. The primary outcome, new MCI and dementia diagnoses by FPs after 12 months as indicated on a list, was assessed among all persons in whom FPs suspected cognitive impairment but without a formal diagnosis of dementia. The secondary outcome, mental health of patients and their relatives, was assessed among persons consenting to participate in trial stage 2. Trial stage 1 consisted of either intervention component 1: training FPs to diagnose MCI and dementia, or control: no training. Trial stage 2 consisted of either intervention component 2: case finding of MCI and dementia and care by a trained nurse and the FP, or control: care as usual. Seven PCPs were randomized to the intervention; eight to the control condition. MCI or dementia was diagnosed in 42.3% (138/326) of persons in the intervention, and in 30.5% (98/321) in the control group (estimated difference GEE: 10.8%, OR: 1.51, 95%-CI 0.60-3.76). Among patients and relatives who consented to stage 2 of the trial (n = 145; 25%), there were no differences in mental health between the intervention and control group. We found a non-significant increase in the number of new MCI diagnoses. As we cannot exclude a clinically relevant effect, a larger study is warranted to replicate ours. Nederlands Trial Register NTR3389
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0156958
Pages (from-to)e0156958
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2016

Cite this