Background: There is little, though growing, interest in the research area of attitudes held among physicians towards disclosing the diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD), or the current practice on AD disclosure. This study aimed to investigate the practice and attitudes of specialized physicians towards AD diagnosis disclosure in Brazil.
Methods: A questionnaire was devised to survey the current practice and attitudes regarding diagnosis disclosure of AD in Brazil and sent to specialized physicians (170 geriatricians, 300 neurologists and 500 psychiatrists) by electronic mail.
Results: From 970 potential respondents, 181 physicians who usually attend AD patients returned the questionnaire. There were no significant differences between the three specialties regarding the frequency with which they informed patients of their AD diagnosis (p = 0.17). The results revealed that only 44.8% of the physicians would regularly inform the patient of the diagnosis, although 85.6% of these use clear terminology. Despite their usual practice, 76.8% would want to know their diagnosis if they themselves were affected by AD.
Conclusions: Disclosure of AD diagnosis is not common among specialized physicians in Brazil and different factors are involved. In the clinical context, discussion on advantages of diagnosis disclosure can be useful for improving the care of AD patients and their families.