BACKGROUND: The paradigm shift towards earlier Alzheimer's disease (AD) stages and personalized medicine creates new challenges for clinician-patient communication. We conducted a survey among European memory clinic professionals to identify opinions on communication about (etiological) diagnosis, prognosis, and prevention, and inventory needs for augmenting communication skills. METHODS: Memory clinic professionals (N = 160) from 21 European countries completed our online survey (59% female, 14 ± 10 years' experience, 73% working in an academic hospital). We inventoried (1) opinions on communication about (etiological) diagnosis, prognosis, and prevention using 11 statements; (2) current communication practices in response to five hypothetical cases (AD dementia, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), subjective cognitive decline (SCD), with ( +) or without ( -) abnormal AD biomarkers); and (3) needs for communication support regarding ten listed communication skills. RESULTS: The majority of professionals agreed that communication on diagnosis, prognosis, and prevention should be personalized to the individual patient. In response to the hypothetical patient cases, disease stage influenced the inclination to communicate an etiological AD diagnosis: 97% would explicitly mention the presence of AD to the patient with AD dementia, 68% would do so in MCI + , and 29% in SCD + . Furthermore, 58% would explicitly rule out AD in case of MCI - when talking to patients, and 69% in case of SCD - . Almost all professionals (79-99%) indicated discussing prognosis and prevention with all patients, of which a substantial part (48-86%) would personalize their communication to patients' diagnostic test results (39-68%) or patients' anamnestic information (33-82%). The majority of clinicians (79%) would like to use online tools, training, or both to support them in communicating with patients. Topics for which professionals desired support most were: stimulating patients' understanding of information, and communicating uncertainty, dementia risk, remotely/online, and with patients not (fluently) speaking the language of the country of residence. CONCLUSIONS: In a survey of European memory clinic professionals, we found a strong positive attitude towards communication with patients about (etiological) diagnosis, prognosis, and prevention, and personalization of communication to characteristics and needs of individual patients. In addition, professionals expressed a need for supporting tools and skills training to further improve their communication with patients.
Original languageEnglish
Article number131
Pages (from-to)131
JournalAlzheimer's Research & Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Clinician-patient communication
  • Dementia
  • Diagnostic workup
  • Memory clinic
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Personalized medicine
  • Subjective cognitive decline

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