Help-seeking preferences in the area of mild cognitive impairment: Comparing family physicians and the lay public

Perla Werner, Jeremia Heinik, Shmuel Giveon, Dikla Segel-Karpas, Eliezer Kitai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild neurocognitive disorder is a well-established clinical entity included in current diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer's disease and in major psychiatric classifications. In all, a loosely defined concern obtained from conceptually different sources (the individual, a knowledgeable informant, or a clinician) regarding a decline in cognition and change in functioning constitutes a sine qua non for initiating diagnostics and providing therapy and support. This concern in practice may translate into complex proactive help-seeking behavior. A better understanding of help-seeking preferences is required in order to promote early detection and management. Objectives: To compare help-seeking preferences of family physicians and the lay public in the area of MCI. Methods: A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 197 family physicians (self-administered) and 517 persons aged 45 and over from the lay public (face to face). Information regarding familiarity with MCI and help-seeking preferences was assessed. Results: The vast majority in both samples reported that family physician, spouse, and children are the most highly recommended sources of help-seeking. In regard to professional sources of help-seeking, a higher percentage of the physicians than the lay public sample consistently recommended seeking help from nurses and social workers and psychiatrists, but a higher percentage of the lay public recommended turning to a neurologist for help. Discussion: There were both similarities and differences between family physicians and the lay public in their preferences regarding help-seeking for a person with MCI. Most prominent is the physicians' greater tendency to recommend professional sources of help-seeking. Conclusion: Understanding of help-seeking preferences of both physicians and lay persons might help overcome barriers for establishing diagnosis, receiving care, and improving communication between doctors and patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-619
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Interventions in Aging
StatePublished - 9 Apr 2014


  • Barriers
  • Doctors
  • Lay persons
  • Patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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