Background: In the context of rising dementia prevalence, the workload of general practitioners (GPs) in dementia care is set to increase. However, there are many aspects of dementia care that GPs find challenging. Behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) affect the majority of people with dementia and is an aspect of dementia care that GPs find particularly difficult to manage. The aim of this mixed methods systematic review is to undertake a synthesis of qualitative and quantitative studies on GPs' knowledge, attitudes and experiences of managing BPSD.
Methods: Seven electronic bibliographic databases will be searched from inception to present. All qualitative or quantitative studies that explore the knowledge, attitude or experiences of GPs towards the management of BPSD in community and/or residential settings will be eligible for inclusion. A meta-ethnography will be conducted to synthesise included studies. Primary outcome measures will include GPs' experiences of managing BPSD, GPs' knowledge of BPSD and their attitude to different approaches to the management of BPSD, in particular their attitude to non-pharmacological approaches. All included papers will be independently assessed for methodological validity by two reviewers using the following tools: the Joanna Briggs Institute checklist for qualitative research, the Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP) tool for intervention studies and the National Institute of Health (NIH) quality assessment tool for observational and analytical cross-sectional studies. As there is no agreed quality assessment tool for descriptive cross-sectional studies, an original tool will be developed. Two independent reviewers will apply the Confidence in the Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative Research (CERQual) tool to the review findings. The results will be reported in line with the Enhancing Transparency in Reporting the Synthesis of Qualitative Research (ENTREQ) statement.
Discussion: This study will be the first systematic review that synthesises the existing literature of GPs' knowledge, attitudes and experiences of managing BPSD in community and residential care. This review will improve our understanding of GPs' perspectives on the management of BPSD, and the results will be used to inform the development of an intervention to improve the management of BPSD in general practice.