Memory Assessment Service
The diagnostic and early treatment pathway has been managed by Dorset HealthCare, Help & Care and Age since 1 April 2021.
Memory Assessment Service
Known as MAS and managed by Dorset HealthCare, all new referrals for an assessment and diagnosis of memory problems (possible dementia) for people aged over 18 are made directly to the MAS.
Referrals are for the assessment of memory problems or possible dementia, for adults over the age of 18. The MAS assesses for and can diagnose dementia and may be able to offer a medical treatment trial.
MAS includes dedicated neuropsychology for more complex diagnoses as well as enhanced clinical practitioners and carer's emotional wellbeing groups. The process of assessment and diagnosis for dementia needs to be very accurate and is complex. It can take several months and may well include having some form of brain scan. A health professional needs to refer to the team in the first instance and your GP should be able to give you a MAS leaflet to explain what is going to happen.
The Single Point of Access phone number for the whole of MAS is 0300 303 5342
The team comprises registered nurses, an occupational therapist, neuropsychologists, non-medical prescribers/advanced nurse practitioners and psychiatrists. All staff will offer a range of possible options to complete assessments and diagnostic work and these will be discussed with you before appointments. MAS works Monday to Friday 9-5, except public holidays. Our clinics are in various places and options will always be discussed at the point you are contacted to make an appointment that suits you. The options are:
- video consultation via Attend Anywhere, where the person can be supported by a family member or carer without leaving the comfort of their home.
- face-to-face clinic appointment with their carer/relative present
- a home visit by a MAS professional if there is a reason why they cannot travel to clinic.
MAS provides formal memory assessments and can be contacted for specific advice and guidance on referrals, but does expect that physical checks are completed before any referral to rule out any reversible causes of memory problems. Most people will be referred for a brain scan at the point of referral so they should not be surprised to get this appointment through the post before they are seen by us.
The assessing professional will undertake a thorough assessment of cognition and effects on functioning. If necessary they will be referred for neuropsychological assessment for a more in-depth assessment by the MAS clinical psychology team. After the initial assessment the person and their GP will receive a letter with the outcome and care plan.
When all tests have been completed and results analysed a diagnostic appointment will be booked. As above, this could be by video consultation, clinic appointment, via telephone speakerphone consultation or if absolutely necessary, by home visit. In almost all cases the person will need to be accompanied by a relative/carer or friend for this appointment.
If the individual is prescribed medication following a dementia diagnosis the Lead Health Care Professional (HCP) will monitor this with them in regular phone calls or clinic appointments and feedback to the GP after three months so they can take over the prescribing.
There is a 12 month review of your medication and care and this will be done by the Dementia Coordinator service who will be able to refer you to any other service such as MAS or your GP or the pharmacy if you require a review of your medication for dementia specifically.
For refererrs other than GPs using SystemOne referral forms, there is a referral form that can be accessed here MAS External Referral Form and once complete it should be emailed to email@example.com
To refer to MAS you must:
- be a registered health or social care professional
- have discussed the referral with the person's GP and the person themselves (or their relative/carer on their behalf if necessary) and have their consent to refer
- have already ruled out any other cause for the cognition change including alcohol use over 14 units per week, Long COVID, untreated or unstable mental health conditions, recent grief state, menopause symptoms, untreated physical health conditions such as B12 or thyroid disorders
- be able to provide comprehensive blood test results (FBC, B12, Folate, TFT’s, U&E, Ca2+, LFT’s, glucose or HbA1) dated within the last six months
Our partner agencies Help & Care and Age UK provide part of the post-diagnostic pathway.
Dementia Co-ordinators (Help & Care) – provided by our partners in care, Help & Care, this is a post-diagnostic support and signposting, care coordination service for people with a diagnosis of dementia, and their families and carers. This includes a dedicated Early Onset (younger) Dementia worker and the provision of annual reviews. They also offer regular Dementia Roadshows, which are awareness-raising, networking, local events, offering information on dementia to local people and agencies. You will find information about Help & Care Dementia Coordinators HERE
Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (Age UK) - which is also known as CST is provided through our partners in care Age UK – this is an evidence-based group therapy for people with a diagnosis of any type of dementia. Find out more about it here for West Dorset or here for East Dorset