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You may have noticed your loved one is beginning to forget things on a day-to-day basis. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to suggest they speak with their GP about the next steps and getting a diagnosis - as they could be in the early stages of dementia.
If your loved one is having memory problems, they may be referred to a memory clinic by their GP or after spending time in the hospital.
In this article, we’ve explained what a memory clinic is, how to get an appointment, how they assess people, the next steps and how to find a memory clinic near you.
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At a memory clinic, your loved one will have their potential memory loss assessed and diagnosed, before treatment options and additional support are provided. These clinics are staffed by memory and dementia specialists, including neuropsychologists and specialist nurses.
Advice may also be offered to your GP (general practitioner), carers, family members or friends, with the goal of best supporting you or your loved one through memory loss.
Your loved one will be given a detailed care plan that clearly outlines all of the above, depending on their results.
People are referred to a memory clinic when a family member or close friend expresses concerns about their memory or cognitive ability (brain and nervous system function).
Your GP may prescribe a memory test to check your ability related to memory and thinking clearly. These tests are known as cognitive assessments and are often performed within a specialist facility such as a memory clinic.
In many cases, your GP will have performed an initial evaluation and decided more specialist support is required.
You should first speak to your GP or similar health professionals if you’re concerned about your or somebody else’s memory loss. They’ll provide a general assessment.
After this initial evaluation, they may then refer your loved one directly to a memory clinic. Alternatively, they could refer your loved one to a different specialist first, and this specialist may then refer your loved one to a memory clinic if they see fit.
The majority of local councils and authorities run memory clinics, often in partnership with the NHS.
Referrals can often take up to 5-6 weeks to be processed, though this will vary slightly, depending on whereabouts in the UK you live.
There are also private memory clinics which you can directly contact about booking an appointment.
After your loved one is assessed, they may then be referred to a different facility - such as if they need an MRI or CAT scan.
The results of all assessments will be provided, and your loved one will be told whether another visit is necessary. The results will also be sent to relevant people such as the GP, so they’ve got them on record as well.
If your loved one is given a dementia diagnosis, such as Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia, all the necessary support and advice will be offered through a range of healthcare professionals, including medication and counselling. Memory clinic staff are experienced in this field, so will be able to answer any questions relating to the diagnosis and what happens next.
Specific dementia care may also be recommended, such as within a dementia care home.
To make your search easier, we’ve provided a handful of memory clinics in the different regions of the UK.
You can also speak to your doctor or GP about local memory clinics. If they choose to refer you, they’ll tell you about clinics in your area.
They’ll assess you following a GP referral.
Click the link above for all nine locations and their addresses.
These facilities offer memory and dementia assessment services through the NHS Foundation Trust.
This is a memory assessment service operated through the NHS Foundation Trust.
This is also a memory assessment service run through the NHS Foundation Trust.
The Yorkshire Clinic offers a range of dementia-related services. This is a private healthcare clinic.
A variety of services are available here. They work alongside the Alzheimer’s Society to cater for all dementia-related needs.
This branch of the NHS is aimed at people across North East England.
Specialist services that comprehensively assess the cause and nature of somebody’s memory difficulties.
They’re based at North Manchester General Hospital and Wythenshawe Hospital - with both of these being found in Greater Manchester.
Mersey Care provides memory assessment and treatment services through the NHS Trust.
The Cardiff Memory Team at this facility will assess people experiencing forgetfulness. Their team comprises doctors, specialist nurses and clinical psychologists.
This local health board of NHS Wales covers around 400,000, including those living in the counties of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.
Based in Aberdeen, the Rubislaw Medical Group advise you to initially book an appointment with one of their GPs. They’ll then provide an assessment before referring you to the clinic for further appointments if necessary.
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Memory clinics aren’t just for people who have or may have dementia. They look at a variety of conditions linked to the brain and cognition, including different forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, strokes and brain injuries.
Neurologists specialise in studying and treating conditions related to the brain. Behavioural neurologists in particular focus on cognitive conditions such as memory loss. This type of doctor is trained to identify the cause of difficulties related to memory.
Psychiatrists, psychologists and geriatricians may also treat conditions relating to memory or dementia.
Memory clinics will focus on specific memory difficulties or conditions. The staff in these clinics are trained to identify or look out for certain things, as well as be able to identify the cause of memory loss. They’ll also be on hand to provide you or your loved one with tailored advice and support where needed.