Curing and caring: The work of primary care physicians with dementia patients

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The symbolic framework guiding primary care physicians' (PCPs) practice is crucial in shaping the quality of care for those with degenerative dementia. Examining the relationship between the cure and care models in primary care offers a unique opportunity for exploring change toward a more holistic approach to health care. The aims of this study were to (a) explore how PCPs approach the care of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), and (b) describe how this care unfolds from the physicians' perspectives. This was a cross-sectional study of 40 PCPs who completed semistructured interviews as part of a dementia caregiving study. Findings show that PCPs recognize the limits of the cure paradigm and articulate a caring, more holistic model that addresses the psychosocial needs of dementia patients. However, caring is difficult to uphold because of time constraints, emotional burden, and jurisdictional issues. Thus, the care model remains secondary and temporary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1469-1483
Number of pages15
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • emotions/emotion work
  • empathy
  • health care professionals
  • health care, primary
  • holistic care
  • interviews, semistructured
  • medicine
  • practice guidelines
  • psychosocial issues
  • qualitative analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Curing and caring: The work of primary care physicians with dementia patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this