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Memory services are recommended as the single point of referral for all suspected cases of dementia.
The memory assessment service could be a memory assessment clinic or a community mental health team.
The service will carry out a diagnostic evaluation, usually including:
1. A memory and reasoning assessment, conducted by a clinic nurse (a memory nurse, community psychiatric nurse or a dementia specialist nurse) as well as a consultant psychiatrist
2. If required, secondary investigations using imaging (such as an MRI or CT scan) and blood testing to exclude other cerebral pathologies and to help establish the subtype diagnosis
Following the diagnostic investigations, a diagnosis will then be made by a consultant psychiatrist at the memory assessment service who has expertise in differential diagnosis and a special interest in dementia.
Occasionally, depending on your symptoms and age, you may also be referred to an older people specialist psychiatric service to confirm your diagnosis
Should you be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, your consultant will carry out a series of tests to assess whether you are suitable for treatment, and will write the first prescription, if appropriate. Subsequent prescriptions may be written by your consultant or your GP.
You may also find that you will need or would like to have non-medication treatment such as therapy with a psychologist. Your GP or consultant will usually refer you to allied health services to arrange this.
It is important to plan for the future so, depending on your level of need, you may at this point wish to consider a community care assessment. The Alzheimer's Society has a useful factsheet about arranging this. Click here to view it.
After you have started treatment, your GP will be responsible for your medication. However, you will usually continue to be reviewed by the memory clinic every six months.
Your nurse will become your key point of contact at the memory clinic. The role of your nurse will include reviewing your treatment and needs, as well as offering education, counselling, signposting and support.
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