A study on awareness of dementia risk reduction among Hamad Medical Corporation's (HMC) healthcare professionals in the second half of 2023 highlights that 76% believe that dementia is preventable and above 75% consider dementia risk reduction as the top priority for the Qatar National Dementia Research Plan.
The study conducted by Hanadi al-Hamad, deputy chief, Long-Term Care, Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, and lead for HMC Therapists and Social Care Services was published in Lancet Journal paper.
The comprehensive, cross-sectional survey among healthcare professionals across multiple hospitals and practice settings covered several topics, including beliefs about the preventability of dementia, interest in receiving information on lifestyle factors that impact brain health, demographics, awareness of memory clinics, years of professional experience, practice settings, perceived barriers, awareness of risk factors, and sources of information.
“Dementia poses a significant global health challenge, and this is one of a series of research studies that my team conducted to investigate the need for raising public awareness about dementia risk reduction practices, preventive measures and access to professional services in Qatar,” said Dr al-Hamad. “Participants demonstrated an intermediate level of knowledge about various risk factors for dementia, such as hypertension, depression, alcohol consumption, education level, smoking, head injury, and physical inactivity. While we conduct annual internal and external campaigns for Alzheimer's awareness, this research has demonstrated that further targeted knowledge is needed for staff.”
Most respondents had over ten years of professional experience and occupied diverse roles in allied health, nursing, and physician specialties across acute care, outpatient, and long-term care settings.
Dr Brijesh Sathian, post doctoral research scientist at HMC’s Department of Geriatrics and Long-Term Care noted that the survey suggests that 76% healthcare professionals believe that dementia is preventable and 87.4% showed a strong inclination towards obtaining information about lifestyle factors that impact brain health and the risk of dementia.
Dr al-Hamad added: “It is essential to understand healthcare professionals' perceptions, awareness levels, and barriers related to dementia prevention to tailor educational interventions and resource allocation to enhance knowledge dissemination and empower preventive measures among both professionals and the general population.”