Assessing the Prevalence of Undetected Possible Dementia in Faroese Nursing Homes

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Introduction: To assess the prevalence of possible dementia among nursing home residents in the Faroe Islands. Method: This cross-sectional study, undertaken in 2017, included all nursing homes in the Faroe Islands (n = 30), housing 591 residents. All residents were invited to participate, except those with an existing clinical diagnosis of dementia or living in dementia units (n = 207). A total of 232 residents participated, while 39 declined and 113 were unable to give consent, had died, or were not permanent residents at the time of examination. Cognitive screening was carried out using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline (IQCODE). Results: Possible dementia was found in 49% to 78% of the participants depending on the method used. According to both MMSE and IQCODE (AND rule), possible dementia was present in 105 participants (49%). According only to IQCODE, 119 participants (55%) scored above the cut-off (≥3.6), according to MMSE alone, 162 participants (72%) scored below the cut-off (≤24 on MMSE), while 175 participants (78%) screened positive according to either MMSE or IQCODE (OR rule). A rough estimate of the prevalence of possible dementia in the entire nursing home population (n = 591) including residents with known dementia and those with possible dementia from this study was between 61% and 73%. Conclusion:A high percentage (49–78%) of the participating nursing home residents without a pre-dementia diagnosis were assessed to have possible dementia based on screening with standardized tools, indicating a high degree of dementia underdiagnoses in Faroese nursing homes. This high prevalence of dementia is of significance for the clinical practice, running, and planning of nursing homes and pinpoints a need to act upon this, not only in the Faroes but also worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-38
Number of pages9
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2019


  • Dementia disease
  • Cognitive screening test
  • Epidemiology
  • Nursing homes


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