Empowered or overpowered? Service use, needs, wants and demands in elderly patients with cognitive impairments

Claire A. G. Wolfs, Marjolein E. de Vugt*, Mike Verkaaik, Paul-Jeroen Verkade, Frans R. J. Verhey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Examination of clinical practice reveals that current treatment options are often not sufficiently utilized by patients suffering from dementia or mild cognitive impairment. Objective: This study aimed to investigate to what extent and in what way these patients utilize the available treatment options, as well as to identify factors and reasons that play a role in the non-utilization of these options. Methods: Semi-structured interviews by telephone were held with the patients' caregivers. Results: Counseling, medication, activities and home care were the options that were most frequently utilized by the 252 patients and caregivers who were included in the study. Group guidance and admissions were the main treatment categories that had not been utilized (although they were proposed). The most important reasons given were refusal by the patient and the fact that help was not necessary yet according to the caregiver. Burden of care and cognition were the most important factors in predicting which of the treatment options were not utilized. Conclusions: Most patients and caregivers are not aware of the treatment options available to them. Awareness of these options is necessary to avoid situations in which patients and caregivers find themselves with their backs against the wall and the need for care support has become an acute necessity. Health care professionals should play an important role with regard to this empowerment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1006-1012
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • dementia
  • cognitive disorder, demand-led care
  • service use, empowerment


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