General practitioners’ role in safeguarding patients with dementia in their use of dietary supplements. A qualitative study

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  • Hilde Risvoll
  • Risør, Torsten
  • Kjell H. Halvorsen
  • Marit Waaseth
  • Trine Stub
  • Trude Giverhaug
  • Frauke Musial
The use of dietary supplements (DS) may cause harm through direct and indirect effects. Patients with dementia may be particularly vulnerable. This study aims to explore general practitioners’ (GPs’) experiences with DS use by these patients, the GPs perceived responsibilities, obstacles in taking on this responsibility, their attitudes toward DS, and suggestions for improvements to safeguard the use of DS in this patient group.

Qualitative individual interview study conducted February - December 2019. Data were analysed using systematic text condensation.

Primary healthcare clinics in Norway.

Fourteen Norwegian GPs.

None of the informants were dismissive of patients using DS. They were aware of the possible direct risks and had observed them in patients. Most GPs showed little awareness of potential indirect risks to patients with dementia who use DS. They acknowledged the need for caretaking of these patients. Although there were differences in practice styles, most of the GPs wished to help their patients safeguarding DS use but found it difficult due to the lack of quality assurance of product information. Furthermore, there were no effective ways for the GPs to document DS use in the patients’ records. Several suggestions for improvement were given by the GPs, such as increased attention from GPs, inclusion of DS in the prescription software, and stricter regulatory systems for DS from the authorities.

The GPs had initially little awareness of this safety risk, but there were differences in practice style and attitudes towards DS. The GPs did not perceive themselves as main responsible for safe use of DS in patient with dementia. The most important reason to disclaim responsibility was lack of information about the products. One suggestion for improvement was better integration of DS in patients’ medical record.
TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)16-28
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - 2024

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© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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