Regular Research Article| Volume 22, ISSUE 8, P746-755, August 2014

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Dementia Services Mini-Screen: A Simple Method to Identify Patients and Caregivers in Need of Enhanced Dementia Care Services

Published:November 14, 2013DOI:


      Improving dementia care in health systems requires estimates of need in the population served. We explored whether dementia-specific service needs and gaps for patients and caregivers could be predicted by simple information readily captured in routine care settings.


      Primary family caregivers (n = 215) rated their own current stress, challenging patient behaviors, and prior-year needs and gaps in 16 medical and psychosocial services. These were evaluated with other patient and caregiver characteristics in multivariate regressions to identify unique predictors of service needs and gaps.


      Caregiver stress and patient behavior problems together accounted for an average of 24% of the whole-sample variance in total needs and gaps. All other variables combined (comorbid chronic disease, dementia severity, age, caregiver relationship, and residence) accounted for a mean of 3%, with none yielding more than 4% in any equation. We combined stress and behavior problem indicators into a simple screen. In early/mild dementia dyads (n = 111) typical in primary care settings, the screen identified gaps in total (84%) and psychosocial (77%) care services for high stress/high behavior problem dyads vs. 25% and 23%, respectively, of low stress/low behavior problem dyads. Medical care gaps were dramatically higher in high stress/high behavior problem dyads (66%) than all others (12%).


      The Dementia Services Mini-Screen is a simple tool that could help clinicians and health systems rapidly identify dyads needing enhanced dementia care, track key patient and caregiver outcomes of interventions, and estimate population needs for new service development.

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