Background: Identification of factors associated with quality of life (QoL) in people having dementia will help develop strategies for maintenance and improvement of patient QoL. This study examined the predictors of QoL in a community-dwelling population aged 75 years and over, with or without dementia.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving 169 GPs and 2,028 patients. Patients were interviewed to collect information on personal circumstances. Several instruments were administered including the WHOQOL-BREF (quality of life outcome measure), Geriatric Depression Scale, GPAQ (satisfaction with GP care), and the CAMCOG-R (cognitive function). Patients with a CAMCOG-R score < 80 were allocated to the dementia group. GPs provided an independent clinical judgment of cognitive function for each of their participating patients.
Results: The dementia group had significantly lower QoL scores in all four domains of the WHOQOL-BREF (all p ≤ 0.002). The GDS score was negatively correlated with all four domains in the non-dementia group and with physical, psychological, and environmental QoL in the dementia group (all p < 0.001). Satisfaction with GP communication was positively associated with psychological QoL in the dementia group and all domains in the non-dementia group. Participants in the dementia group who had been given a diagnosis of a memory problem had significantly higher physical (2.05, 95% CI 0.36 to 3.74) and environmental (2.18, 95% CI 0.72 to 3.64) QoL.
Conclusions: Satisfaction with GP communication is associated with a higher QoL in their older patients. Diagnosis and disclosure of memory problems is associated with better QoL in people with dementia. Clinicians should not be deterred from discussing a memory diagnosis and plans for the future with patients.