Getting a diagnosis
Not keen to visit your GP about your memory issues? You are not alone. People tend to put off getting a diagnosis for at least a year, worried that their lives will be over.
Whilst getting a diagnosis can be daunting there are many benefits of getting an early diagnosis:
If you or the person you care for is referred for a diagnosis in Bedfordshire then this will happen through the Memory Assessment Service.
The Memory Assessment Service team is made up of specialist doctors, nurses, occupational therapists and psychologists who, upon receiving your referral from the GP will look at the information provided to them to establish a plan of what is best for each individual case. Some people will need to have a CT scan as part of the information needed to help the team, this is not the case for everyone and only those where it is needed will be asked to go and have one.
At your first appointment you will usually be seen by one of the specialist doctors, the person with you will also have an opportunity to say things that they may have noticed differently than you. If this would be helpful but is not offered, make a request when you receive the appointment confirmation. It may be useful to write down these observations together with any questions to take to the appointment to ensure you are able to discuss all of your concerns. Your memory, thinking and other cognitive skills will also be assessed further with a pen-and-paper test.
You may need to return for more detailed tests or be referred to additional services. If you are suitable for medication you will then see either a doctor or a specialist nurse in a prescription clinic. Following this it is usual for you to be discharged back to the care of your GP.
It is just as important that those living in residential or nursing care, who may have more advanced symptoms, are also diagnosed. This means that their care can be planned to reduce unsettling hospital admissions for common difficulties. It also allows for all professionals who see the person to be aware of the condition and any individual needs.