The Caregiver as Part of the Dementia Management Team
Steven M. Albert
Care for older people with dementia living in the community involves not only a physician and the patient, but also a family member as the `primary caregiver'. This caregiver communicates medical information from the physician to the patient (screening this information as necessary), ensures that treatment plans are carried out, and relays patient (and family) concerns to the physician. Optimal patient care depends, in part, on inclusion of such caregivers in the dementia management team. However, review of the literature suggests that physicians do not make optimal use of family members as partners in disease management. Further research is required to assess the effect of efforts to include family caregivers as part of the dementia management team and to determine how best to support family members in their role as partners in dementia management.
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