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chapter Primary care: Fit for the dementia challenge?

WithFamily physicians are in the key position

Family physicians are in the key position There is no doubt that family physicians (FPs) are in the key position for early recognition and management of dementia (Table 25.1). This holds especially true for health systems with gatekeepers, such as in the Netherlands, Finland or Denmark. In contrast to many of the specialists' services, primary care is available in urban and rural areas and provides home visits and continuity of care (e.g. Consensus Statement, 1997; Audit Commission, 2000). The elderly often suffer from one or more somatic disorders, for the treatment of which they visit their FP on a regular basis. just to give an example, even in the urban area of Berlin, according to the Berlin Ageing Study, 85% of the over 70-year-old elderly visit the FP more than 20 times a year on average. Of the 60% who also visit a specialist, only 4% visit a neuropsychiatrist (Mayer and Baltes, 1996).