International Psychogeriatrics

Case Reports

The impact of diagnostic disclosure in dementia: a qualitative case analysis

Els Derksen a1c1, Myrra Vernooij-Dassen a1, Freek Gillissen a2, Marcel Olde-Rikkert a3 and Philip Scheltens a2
a1 Centre for Quality of Care Research, Alzheimer Centre Nijmegen, The Netherlands
a2 VU- Medical Centre, Alzheimer Centre Amsterdam, The Netherlands
a3 Department of Geriatrics, Alzheimer Centre Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Article author query
derksen e   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
vernooij-dassen m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
gillissen f   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
olde-rikkert m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
scheltens p   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Objective: The aim of this study was to give an in-depth description of the impact of disclosure of the diagnosis of dementia on a patient and the patient's partner.

Methods: Grounded theory interview study.

Results: Analysis of the interviews revealed that disclosure had an impact on three key domains: awareness of dementia, interpersonal relationship and social relationships. Disclosure was perceived as a confirmation of the pre-test ideas of both patient and carer. Formal disclosure of dementia was especially relevant for the carer in reconsidering her response to the patient's changed behavior.

Discussion: Receiving the diagnosis of dementia can be considered as a crucial moment in the process of becoming aware of the changes in one's life. Moreover, disclosure marks a new phase in the process of caring by the caregiver.

(Received February 4 2004)
(Revision requested March 4 2004)
(Revised version received April 28 2004)
(Accepted April 29 2004)

Key Words: Grounded theory; carer; relationships.

c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Els Derksen, Centre for Quality of Care Research 229 P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Phone: + 31 243615305. Fax + 31 24 3540166. E-mail