About the Dementia Assessment Service
The Dementia and Memory Assessment Service consists of a team of clinicians from different professional backgrounds with skills in assessing people to see if they have dementia.
They also provide post diagnostic information and other support for people who have just been given a diagnosis of dementia.
The service covers all of the Coventry and Warwickshire area. There are clinic bases in Coventry, Nuneaton, Rugby, Leamington and Stratford. Most of the assessments are carried out in clinics depending on where you live. However, if you have difficulties getting into clinic, perhaps due to physical health or mobility difficulties the assessment can take place in your own home.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM WORRIED ABOUT MY MEMORY?
If you are worried about your memory it is important to discuss this with your GP. Don’t be embarrassed about seeking help. Memory problems are a very common reason to visit a GP. It may be nothing serious but it is always best to get it checked out as the GP may be able to offer advice and help and if need be refer you to appropriate services for further investigations. Memory problems are very common and they can be caused by many different factors. Normal age related changes, physical health problems, tiredness, anxiety, depression, work and life related stress, or side effects of some medication can all lead to our memory and other thinking skills becoming less reliable than usual. In some cases, these changes can however be a sign of dementia.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT WHEN I COME FOR AN ASSESSMENT?
A comprehensive assessment will be needed to help establish the probable cause of your difficulties so that you can be offered any necessary treatment or support.
At the first appointment, we will:
● Explain the assessment process in detail
● Ask you about your personal, social, family and medical history.
● Ask about how you manage at home or work
● You may also be asked to have a blood test and a brain scan, although
your GP may have already organised these.
● You will also be asked to do some practical pen and paper tasks so
that we can see whether there has been any change in your memory and thinking skills over and above what we would expect from someone of your age.
● If you have brought a family member or friend along with you to the appointment, we will ask them if they can complete some questionnaires asking about any changes they have noticed in your memory and in day-to-day functioning.
● It is important that you bring any spectacles or hearing aids you might need.
It might be helpful to write down any questions or concerns you have so you can discuss these at your appointment. We recommend that your partner or someone you trust is with you during the assessment but you can be seen alone if you prefer. You may be seen at home, or you might be invited to attend a clinic appointment.
The initial assessment usually takes about 2 hours. After this, there may be a wait of a few weeks for all of the investigations to be carried out, but as soon as all the results are available, you will be offered a follow-up appointment to let you know the outcomes of the assessment.
WHO WILL CARRY OUT THE ASSESSMENT?
This depends on your individual circumstances. Most people are seen at a clinic by a nurse called a Memory Assessment Clinician (MAC). Alternatively, some people may be booked in to see a Consultant Psychiatrist or Clinical Psychologist first.
Once this initial assessment has been carried out, your results will be discussed with the team. If we need more information, further assessment might be carried out. If this is the case, you will be asked to attend a follow up appointment with a Clinical Psychologist or Occupational Therapist.
A Clinical Psychologist will do some more in-depth paper and pencil tests with you, called a Neuropsychological Assessment. These are more are more sensitive to subtle changes.
If you are required to have an Occupational Therapy Assessment one of our Occupational Therapists will visit you at home to assess how you are functioning in everyday life. Their assessment gives us more information about your memory concentration and problem-solving abilities.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE ASSESSMENT IS COMPLETED?
When your assessment is complete, a follow up appointment will be arranged and the outcomes of the assessment will be discussed with you. There are usually three possible outcomes to the assessment:
● You will be given a diagnosis of dementia
● You will be given a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment
● You will be told that you do not have dementia and your memory
problems are due to other factors
WHAT IF I AM DIAGNOSED WITH DEMENTIA?
The diagnosis will be discussed with you and any treatment options will be explored with you, or you and a family member if you prefer. We will also write to your GP and inform them of the outcomes of your assessment. We will offer you the opportunity to attend local post diagnostic support groups and you will receive an information pack to provide you with more information about dementia and to help you get to know what support is available in your local area.
If you have been prescribed medication for your dementia, a clinician will
follow up to check that you are coping with your medicine. Once the correct dose of medication has been established, you will be reviewed on a yearly basis by a monitoring nurse.
WHAT IF I AM DIAGNOSED WITH MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT?
In some instances, a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) might be made. This is where memory and thinking problems are very mild and they do not affect your ability to carry out your everyday activities. You will receive an information pack to provide you with more information about MCI and how to keep well and hopefully how to prevent it getting any worse. Your GP may suggest you have a re-assessment after a period of time so that we can see if there have been any changes.
WHAT IF I AM TOLD THAT MY PROBLEMS WITH MEMORY ARE DUE TO OTHER FACTORS?
Sometimes memory problems can be caused by other factors such as anxiety or mood. We will give you advice on how to manage these issues and may suggest that your GP prescribes you some medication or refers you on for counselling or psychological therapy. We may arrange to meet with you once your mood/anxiety has had chance to improve.
Manor Court Site
Manor Court Avenue Nuneaton
Telephone: 0300 200 2008
Yew Tree House
87 Radford Road Leamington Spa
Telephone: 01926 450660
Longford Primary Care Centre
Telephone: 024 7670 7968
Brunel House Woodside Park The Railings Rugby
(Sat Nav postcode: CV21 2NP) Telephone: 01788 513700
Building 2, Ground Floor Stratford Healthcare Arden Street Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6NQ
Telephone: 0300 303 4017 Fax: 01789 417 129
Clinic rooms are also located at Tile Hill, the Caludon Centre and Wood End Health centre.
This Information provided courtesy of Service Detail | Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust (covwarkpt.nhs.uk)
Issue information date: October 2023 - talkdementia.uk