About the Dementia Search Filter

CareSearch has developed and validated a Dementia Search Filter for use in PubMed, the free online version of Medline. The search filter is available in the Clinical Evidence section of the CareSearch website, under Dementia PubMed Searches. To use the search filter, searchers need only click on a hyperlink. This launches a current search for English language dementia literature within the PubMed database.

What's a search filter?

A search filter is a search strategy for identifying the relevant information within a larger pool of relevant and irrelevant information, typically in an electronic bibliographic database. A search filter is more than an expert searcher’s best attempt at finding everything in an area of interest. It is an experimentally derived, tested and validated tool with a known level of performance in whichever database it was created for.

Why dementia in palliative care?

Dementia is now the third leading cause of death in Australia. [1] Palliative care for people with advanced dementia is a growing area of need, particularly in residential aged care facilities, where over half of all residents in 2008 had a dementia diagnosis. [2] Implementation of a palliative approach will improve quality of life for residents and families by attending to symptoms and avoiding unnecessary hospitalisation [3], particularly in the late stages of the disease when care is complex and family distress is high.

The Dementia Search Filter was developed with funding provided by HammondCare as part of the Integrated Care Framework for Advanced Dementia (ICF-D), a project within Alzheimer's Australia National Quality Dementia Care Initiative.

Why use a Dementia Search Filter?

Clinicians in all medical, nursing and allied health disciplines providing dementia care require ongoing, timely access to the best available research evidence to inform their practice. Finding relevant literature when needed can be difficult due to the vast amount of literature available, different ways of accessing it, a lack of time to invest in the task, and a real or perceived lack of searching skills.

A search filter is a tool that can improve search efficiency by providing an easy-to-use, standardised shortcut to clinically relevant literature. CareSearch has experience in the empirical development of search filters. It has previously developed the Palliative Care Search Filter for retrieving the diffuse palliative care literature [4] and the Heart Failure Search Filter. [5]

The Dementia PubMed Searches

The Dementia Search Filter has also been combined with 24 ‘expert’ searches on topics of relevance to both dementia and palliative care; eg, nutrition and hydration, decision making and ethical issues. Many of these Dementia PubMed Searches  are also available as one-click hyperlinks on the CareSearch website. 

Additionally, the Dementia Search Filter has been combined with over 30 ‘expert’ searches on topics of relevance to dementia and residential aged care, using the RAC Search Filter. These topics include agitation and restlessness, wandering and oral and dental health.

Each PubMed search provides options for limiting the search in a way that has value to the searcher. These options are:

  • free full text only
  • highest level evidence only (i.e. randomised controlled trials or systematic reviews)
  • citations added to PubMed in the last three months only

The short animated demonstration "How to Run a Dementia PubMed Search" will be available soon at the top right hand side of this page.

Searchers can also follow the simple instructions provided here to use the Dementia Search Filter in creating their own search on a topic of interest.

How was the Dementia Search Filter developed?

The Dementia Search Filter was originally developed for the OvidSP Medline database following a strict research methodology.

The OvidSP Medline Dementia Search Filter is available to clinicians who prefer to search using this interface. This search filter can be typed into the Medline search box, exactly as shown below, and then saved for recurrent use.

exp dementia/ or dement$.ti,ab. or alzheimer$.mp.
  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Causes of Death, Australia, 2008. 2010; ABS cat. no. 3303.0.
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Residential aged care in Australia 2007-08: A statistical overview [Internet].2009; AIHW cat. no.AGE 58.
  3. Casarett D, Takesaka J, Karlawish J, Hirschman KB, Clark CM. How should clinicians discuss hospice for patients with dementia? Anticipating caregivers' preconceptions and meeting their information needs. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2002 Apr-Jun;16(2):116-22.
  4. Sladek R, Tieman J, Fazekas BS, Abernathy AP, Currow DC. Development of a subject search filter to find information relevant to palliative care in the general medical literature. J Med Libr Assoc. 2006 Oct:94(4):394-401.
  5. Damarell RA, Tieman J, Sladek RM, Davidson PM. Development of a heart failure filter for Medline: an objective approach using evidence-based clinical practice guidelines as an alternative to hand searching. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2011 Jan 28;11:12.
Last updated 18 January 2017