BACKGROUND: Portugal has a Dementia Strategy that endorses care coordination in the community, but the strategy is not implemented despite there being a network of multidisciplinary primary care clinics that could support it. Recent research into barriers to dementia management in primary care has focused essentially on general practitioners' (GPs) factors and perspectives. A comprehensive triangulated view on the barriers to dementia management emphasising teamwork is missing. AIM: To explore the barriers to the implementation of the Portuguese Dementia Strategy by primary care teams, from the perspectives of service users and professionals. METHODS: Purposive sampling was used to recruit 10 GPs, 8 practice nurses, 4 social workers, 8 people with dementia and 10 family carers from 6 practices in different social contexts within the Lisbon metropolitan area. The analytical framework combined codes derived from the transcripts with codes from the available literature. Themes focused on the access to professionals/community services, care coordination within healthcare teams, and between health and community services. FINDINGS: Several system barriers were identified (undefined roles/coordination within teams, time constraints, insufficient signposting to community services) along with individual barriers (limited competence in dementia, unrecognised autonomy, limited views on social health and quality of life (QoL)), hindering users access to dementia services. CONCLUSION: Enhanced competence in dementia, and nurse-led systematic care of people with dementia and their carers, are necessary. They can be effective in improving the QoL in dementia, but only if associated with better community support.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10
JournalPrimary health care research & development
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2022


  • carer
  • dementia
  • general practitioner
  • health services
  • person with dementia
  • practice nurse
  • primary care
  • qualitative methods
  • social worker
  • teamwork


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