MEDICAL JOURNEY OF PATIENTS WITH MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT AND MILD ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE DEMENTIA: A CROSS-SECTIONAL SURVEY OF PATIENTS, CARE PARTNERS, AND NEUROLOGISTS
J.J. Pruzin, S. Brunton, S. Alford, C. Hamersky, A. Sabharwal, G. Gopalakrishna
J Prev Alz Dis 2023;2(10):162-170
Background: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease presenting along a continuum ranging from asymptomatic disease to mild cognitive impairment (MCI), followed by dementia characterized as mild, moderate, or severe.
Objectives: To better understand the medical journey of patients with all-cause MCI or mild AD dementia from the perspective of patients, care partners, and physicians.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: Online surveys in the United States between February 4, 2021, and March 1, 2021.
Participants: 103 patients with all-cause MCI or mild AD dementia and 150 care partners participated in this survey. 301 physicians (75 of whom were neurologists) completed a survey.
Measurements: The surveys included questions regarding attitudes, experiences, and behaviors related to diagnosis and management of MCI and mild AD dementia. For the patient and care partner surveys, questions regarding healthcare received for MCI and mild AD dementia were only asked of care partners.
Results: Most patients (73%) had a similar medical journey. The majority (64%) initially consulted a primary care physician on average 15 months after symptom onset, with symptoms primarily consisting of forgetfulness and short-term memory loss. About half (51%) of patients in the typical medical journey were diagnosed by a neurologist. Upon diagnosis, most neurologists reported having discussions with patients and care partners about the potential causes of MCI or mild AD dementia (83%); of these physicians, 83% explained the effect other conditions have on the risk of the diagnoses and symptom progression. Neurologists (52%) consider themselves the coordinator of care for patients with MCI or mild AD dementia. Amongst patients and care partners, about one-third (35%) perceive the neurologists to be the coordinating physician.
Conclusions: Neurologists commonly diagnose MCI and mild AD dementia but are typically not the first point of contact in the medical journey, and patients do not consult with a physician for over a year after symptom onset. Neurologists play a key role in the medical journey for patients and care partners, and could help ensure earlier diagnosis and treatment, and improve clinical outcomes by coordinating MCI and mild AD dementia care and collaborating with primary care physicians.
J.J. Pruzin ; S. Brunton ; S. Alford ; C. Hamersky ; A. Sabharwal ; G. Gopalakrishna (2023): Medical Journey of Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Mild Alzheimer’s Disease Dementia: A Cross-sectional Survey of Patients, Care Partners, and Neurologists. The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease (JPAD). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jpad.2023.21