Primary health care providers knowledge of dementia and cognitive assessment tools for elderly populations in Southeast Nigeria: A pilot survey

SAGE open medicine

SAGE Open Med. 2023 Oct 14;11:20503121231204224. doi: 10.1177/20503121231204224. eCollection 2023.


OBJECTIVES: Primary health care remains the widely available first point of medical care in Nigeria and in other low- and middle-income countries. Recognizing the rising prevalence of dementia in these settings, primary healthcare providers should be trained on cognitive assessment. However, little is known about the current Nigerian primary healthcare providers' knowledge of dementia, cognitive assessment tools, and use in elderly populations. The aim of this study was to evaluate primary healthcare providers' knowledge of dementia and cognitive assessment tools in Southeast Nigeria in preparation for the introduction of digital tablet-based assessment tool.

METHODS: This is a cross-sectional mixed method descriptive pilot survey carried out in a comprehensive healthcare center affiliated with Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital. Fifty healthcare workers participated. Convenience sampling was employed involving all consenting primary healthcare providers in comprehensive healthcare center-Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital. A structured questionnaire was distributed for generation of both qualitative and quantitative data.

RESULT: The mean age of the 50 primary healthcare providers was 36.6 years, with females constituting 80%. Mean practice duration was 10.8 years. Their response on the mean age at which patients may need a cognitive assessment was reported as 52.8 years. Primary healthcare providers reported that dementia is associated with memory loss and can be genetically inherited. None of the respondents were familiar with Montreal cognitive assessment, or any form of tablet-based cognitive assessment tool. Most (86%) knew about the mini mental state examination.

CONCLUSION: Primary healthcare providers are deficient in knowledge of dementia Alzheimer's or cognitive assessment tools, and so they do not routinely carryout cognitive screening in elderly patients during clinic visits. It is important to train all cadres of primary healthcare staff on the use and benefit of cognitive assessment using culturally validated user-friendly tool to improve quality of care for the elderly population.

PMID:37846370 | PMC:PMC10576919 | DOI:10.1177/20503121231204224