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Scottish older adults at risk of 'undiagnosed dementia'

Scottish older adults at risk of 'undiagnosed dementia'
7th September 2012

Older adults in Scottish hospitals are at a greater risk of having undiagnosed dementia, according to a recent study.

Doctors at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) found dementia was present in 25 per cent of all patients, with half of these cases going unidentified.

Incident rates of dementia increase to 40 per cent among those over the age of 70.

This amounts to approximately 1,600 people unknowingly having dementia, meaning that essential treatment is being delayed.

Doctors at the RCPE are now calling for a change in training to ensure more instances of dementia are recognised.

Alasdair MacLullich, professor of geriatric medicine at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, said: "The diagnosis and assessment of dementia presents a major challenge to medical staff in hospitals who until recently have not needed to be trained in its diagnosis and treatment."

Failure to identify dementia could mean thousands of patients across the country could be treated with the wrong medications, which has serious health implications.

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.