Memory service

My husband has been referred by his GP to a memory service to find out whether he has dementia or not. What is a memory service and what happens when you are there?

Memory services (sometimes known as memory clinics)   are operated by medical staff, specialist dementia nurses, psychologists, and occupational therapists. The team at the memory service runs comprehensive cognitive assessments on people of any age who have or are suspected to have memory problems, to determine whether they should be diagnosed with dementia or not.

Once a diagnosis is given the service provides ongoing support and information to people with memory problems and their carers. This ranges from helping to support individuals and their carers to come to terms with the diagnosis, through to helping them cope with stress, anxiety, anger, and the feeling of isolation. The team at the memory service will also provide useful coping strategies and treatments to help people minimise their memory difficulties so they can live independently and safely.

Following a consultation with your husband, your GP will have identified that your husband is experiencing memory issues that maybe caused by the onset of dementia. When your husband attends the memory service, the team will run a number of assessments to test his memory and patterns of behaviour to determine whether he has dementia. You will be able to accompany him to the appointment but his tests will be carried out on his own. Plus, the appointment letter should inform you of how long the assessment will take and what the process will be.

The Memory Service will inform your GP of the assessment results and your GP will ask your husband (and you) to attend a follow-up appointment to discuss the results. Your husband will receive a diagnosis of dementia, or will be referred for further investigation, which may entail having an x-ray or MRI scan of his head to look at the structure of his brain.