A central aspect of the governments National Dementia Strategy is early diagnosis and ‘living well with dementia’. The vision is that this should be provided by specialist memory services which will enable people with a diagnosis of dementia, access to a range of treatment and support.
From April 2013 the Department of Health (DoH) asked doctors to give anyone aged 65 to 74, information about memory services as part of the NHS health check programme, and refer them for assessment if needed.
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust has three memory service teams.
The Southwark and Lambeth Memory Service (SLMS), the Croydon Memory Service and the Lewisham Memory Service. Each provides borough based specialist assessment, investigation, early diagnosis and treatment for anyone over the age of 65 or anyone under that age where dementia is suspected.
Our teams are made up of psychologists, nurses, occupational therapist’s and doctors.
Anyone who is referred to the memory service is seen either at home or in a local clinic. Using the latest diagnostic tools to detect very early dementia, staff carry out an initial assessment and follow up with a talk about the results. It’s at this stage that a diagnosis can be made with a referral for appropriate treatment as required.
The three teams receive on average 1,900 new referrals a year. We have a few examples of the sort of comments we get from our service users and their carers:
“Thanks for pulling this together, some questions feel stupid to ask but you are very understanding and it’s nice to know I’m not alone.”
“Mum loves all these groups she goes to. Usually it’s hard to get her to go out for the day with the family but she’s always up and ready for her groups. Whatever you’re doing to get her out, its working!”
“Thank you so much for your support in bringing all the strands if support together; It has reduced my anxiety about Dad and I feel much more positive about the future.”
“He always comes away from [SydenhamGardens] feeling good[…] you’re doing things, you’re talking and all the people are on a similar scale so if he repeats himself, it doesn’t matter”.
Everyone who has used our memory service has an opportunity to take part in research projects, including therapeutic trials.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please telephone:
- Heavers Resource Centre (Croydon) 020 3228 9500
- The Gatehouse (Lambeth and Southwark) 020 3228 0570
- Granville park (Lewisham) 020 3228 0939
Information for Referrers:
Memory Service (Lambeth and Southwark) Referral Form. (The Gatehouse is a non-clinical site)
Please note that dementia screening bloods should be checked at the time of presentation to primary care and prior to referral to the Memory Service. They include the following: FBC, glucose, TFT, LFT, B12 and folate, U&Es, Calcium, CRP and lipids. For General Practitioners who use the Kings College Hospital or Guy's and St Thomas's pathology services, the basic set of bloods can be requested as a group on tQuest. HIV and Syphilis should be checked in select cases. The results of the blood tests should be included with the referral to the Memory Service.