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The relationship between unmet care needs in young-onset dementia and the course of neuropsychiatric symptoms: a two-year follow-up study

  • Christian Bakker (a1) (a2), Marjolein E. de Vugt (a3), Deliane van Vliet (a3), Frans R.J. Verhey (a3), Yolande A. Pijnenburg (a4), Myrra J.F.J. Vernooij-Dassen (a5) (a2) (a6) (a7) and Raymond T.C.M. Koopmans (a2)...



Little is known about care needs in young-onset dementia (YOD) patients, even though this information is essential for service provision and future care planning.

We explored: (1) care needs of people with YOD, (2) the level of agreement within patient-caregiver dyads on care needs, and (3) the longitudinal relationship between unmet needs and neuropsychiatric symptoms.


A community-based prospective study of 215 YOD patients-caregiver dyads. Care needs were assessed with the Camberwell Assessment of Need for the Elderly. The level of agreement between patient and caregivers’ report on care needs was calculated using κ coefficients. The relationship between unmet needs and neuropsychiatric symptoms over time, assessed with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory, was explored using linear mixed models.


Patients and caregivers generally agreed on the areas in which needs occurred. Only modest agreement existed within patient-caregiver dyads regarding whether needs could be met. Patients experienced high levels of unmet needs in areas such as daytime activities, social company, intimate relationships, and information, leading to an increase in neuropsychiatric symptoms.


Our findings indicate that in YOD, there are specific areas of life in which unmet needs are more likely to occur. The high proportions of unmet needs and their relationship with neuropsychiatric symptoms warrant interventions that target neuropsychiatric symptoms as well as the prevention of unmet needs. This underlines the importance of the periodic investigation of care needs, in which patient and caregiver perspectives are considered complementary.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Christian Bakker, MSc, PhD, Department of Primary and Community Care, Centre for Family Medicine, Geriatric Care and Public Health, Radboud University Nijmegen, Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9101, Code 117 ELG, 6500 HB Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Phone: +31 70 7546580; Mobile: +31 6 52324892; Fax: +31 70 7546699. Email:


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