New clinic to fast-track dementia diagnosis

People worried about their memory are now able to get a diagnosis quicker, thanks to a new private memory assessment clinic in Northampton.

Memory loss can be a natural part of getting older, but sometimes it can be a sign of something more serious such as dementia. The condition is caused by changes within the brain, and it can affect people of any age. There are many types of dementia– including Alzheimer’s’ disease, and the effects can differ greatly from person to person.

The key to receiving fast, appropriate treatment and the right sort of support and guidance is a quick diagnosis. By knowing what they are dealing with, people have the best chance to prepare and plan for the future.

St Andrew’s Healthcare Memory Assessment Clinic (MAC), which opened to patients on 1 February, is for anyone who has been referred by their GP due to concerns about their memory. The clinic offers a fast assessment process and diagnosis within six weeks.

Based at St Andrew’s Healthcare in Northampton, the clinic offers a comprehensive memory assessment; diagnosis; expert intervention from an experienced Consultant Psychiatrist; risk assessment and management plan, as well as information and support following diagnosis.

As part of the assessment process, patients will undergo blood tests and an electrocardiogram (ECG)  at their GP surgery, before being referred for an MRI scan (taken at BMI Three Shires Hospital, within St Andrew’s grounds). The results of the assessments are used by a consultant psychiatrist to make treatment recommendations – from medication to support material and signposting information.

Dr Geraldine D’Souza, Consultant Psychiatrist, is looking forward to the clinic launching. She explained: “Waiting to see a specialist about memory problems to either confirm or exclude a diagnosis of dementia can be a long and distressing process. At St Andrew’s Healthcare we are very happy to be launching our new private memory clinic to bridge this gap, and provide a service that is personalised, supportive, and sensitive to each of our patient’s needs.

“Dementia is a life-changing condition that profoundly impacts patients and their families. By providing an assessment and MRI at the same appointment and a rapid turn-around time for a diagnosis, patients can have quick access to evidence based drug and non-drug treatments and the right support services. An accurate and early diagnosis allows patients to have control and choice over both present and future decisions and live well with dementia.”

The Memory Assessment Clinic can also help people with memory problems that are the result of other causes, such as traumatic brain injury. For further information and for service prices, telephone 01604 616050 or email [email protected], or visit www.standrewstherapy.co.uk.