Memory Assessment Services
Becoming forgetful does not necessarily mean that a person has dementia so it is worth discussing concerns with your G.P.
Making a diagnosis of dementia is often difficult,
particularly in the early stages, so GP’s will often refer the patient
to a Memory Assessment Service. These services are run by the Community
Mental Health Teams for Older People and provide services to patients
over 65 years who have mental health problems or any individual with a
diagnosis of dementia including those under 65. Single point of entry
provides assessment and offers memory clinic, dementia clinic, psychology,
day therapy, Occupational Therapy assessment and outpatient clinics.
See Getting a Diagnosis for more information.
Memory Assessment Services operate throughout
the county at main community locations and offer assessment, support,
information and advice to those with memory problems and their carers.
Further information can be found on the Kent and Medway Partnership Trust website.
How to get an Appointment ?
Referral for an appointment is normally
via a GP so that preliminary screening can be carried out. It is important
that the doctor investigates and treats any underlying physical illness
and is able to assess the features of the memory problem.
What are ’Memory Clinics?’
Memory clinics form part of the Memory Assessment Service and usually consist of psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses, who help in the assessment of memory problems and to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of dementia. These clinics provided a quality assessment, care planning and follow up for people with a memory problem.
Memory clinics assess whether or not you have memory impairment and what the cause might be. They also aim to teach strategies for improving your ability to acquire new information and to consolidate and recall facts. Carers of people attending memory clinics have also been found to benefit from the experience.
Aims of the Memory Clinic
- Early identification of memory problems and any related disorders.
- Comprehensive assessment and diagnosis.
- Support and advice for patient, relatives or friends.
- To consider a trial of medication.
- Make available information about other service providers.
What happens at the Memory Clinic?
The first appointment may take between 1 and 2 hours. It is difficult to be precise about timing as all cases and circumstances are different and may need varying amounts of time.
This appointment may involve a doctor, a psychologist or an occupational therapist talking with the patient and a relative (or close friend), who is able to explain the difficulties or problems being experienced and their effect on daily living. The team will carry out some tests to find out the strengths and weaknesses of memory, so it is important to take along reading glasses or hearing aids if these are used. It also involves gathering detailed information about the patient’s background, past medical history, any current medical problems and medications currently being taken.
By the end of the appointment the clinic team aim
to have completed an assessment, discussed the results and helped plan
any future treatment or care. Details of other services which may be helpful
will also be made available.
Please Note: This may vary from clinic from clinic
What happens next?
A follow-up appointment will usually be made after three months to undertake a progress review. This appointment takes about half an hour and is an opportunity to discuss any concerns and assess the benefits of any advice or medication that has been given.