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Memory clinic?

(10 Posts)
miffyt Fri 21-Feb-14 17:20:46

Dad has his first appointment next week at the memory clinic at his local hospital. I'm going with him and I phoned them today to find out what would happen when he goes. It's taken just short of three months for this appointment but when I spoke to them I was told this is to see a nurse not a doctor! The lady I spoke to today seemed to think a nurse should have seen him at home already but he hasn't seen anyone is this normal? The letter his GP sent my dad said it might be for a CT scan but I was told that if they think he needs one it will be another eight week wait. I'm concerned that as he did so badly at the test his GP gave him the doc told me it was either a rare form of dementia or far more advanced than we had realised so the clock is ticking. I know everyone thinks that their case is more urgent than the rest but I'd like to know your experiences with memory clinics and what they actually do. The person I spoke to today said the nurse will ask my dad some questions, and Might see if he is suitable for medication.

LadySnapcase Fri 21-Feb-14 17:32:00

Hi, I don't have masses of experience in this area but know a little. The appointment will likely be with a mental health nurse who specialises in older persons mental health and dementias. They will ask questions and possibly get him to complete a few tasks to assess his level of functioning and can refer on to a psychiatrist if they think he needs further assessment. They will be looking to see if they think he can benefit from one of several drugs that can slow the progression of some types of dementia, but they aren't suitable for everyone. They will also look at what sort of input he and his carers need from the mental health service, which may be visits from a nurse or social worker or going to day services etc.

Sorry, that's all a bit vague, but hopefully someone else will be along with more info...

littleballerina Fri 21-Feb-14 17:36:46

They'll probably do a Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination – Revised (ACE-R) which tests attention, memory, verbal fluency, language, visuo-spatial, and perceptual abilities and takes about half an hour.

They'll ask questions about day to day life and history.

kerplunker Fri 21-Feb-14 17:41:25

My mum has been attending the memory clinic (dsis takes her) so I know a little bit. She was asked lots of questions i.e her age, what year is it, what time is it and things like that. We were advised that it was early Alzheimers and she was prescribed some tablets and we were told there would be a 50/50 chance of improvement. She has since returned to the clinic and actually showed improvements when doing the tests again. They have now said that she doesn't need to go back smile.

They also arranged for a carer to visit in evenings to make sure she has an evening meal as she has been forgetting to eat. It has been quite a positive experience so far really.

CMOTDibbler Fri 21-Feb-14 17:46:46

My mum had a CT before the memory clinic appt, and then at her appointment we both saw a Dr talked to them for a while, then mum went off with a nurse specialist and did a number of different tests (she has a lot more language issues which don't show up on the standard tests as well as memory impairment does) while the Dr talked to me about how mum did at various things, then mum came back and the Dr gave her the diagnosis. We then saw the support worker.

They are lovely at the memory clinic she goes to, and it felt very unhurried.

One thing I would say is that you need to be prepared that there is very little that can be done to slow dementia progression down. They were a bit unsure as to whether to even try my mum on the available drugs, but gave it a go and she was unable to tolerate any of them.

But going to the memory clinic has helped massively as they have given answers as to why a number of things are happening, she now gets admitted to geratology rather than acute medical (which is brill as they have time for her and have a more holistic view), and they are good at writing stern letters about care needs.

miffyt Fri 21-Feb-14 18:24:19

Thank you for all your replies. I understand there is little that can be done but I'm glad I've asked for your advice. I was thinking it could be doing the same rest as his GP did but it sounds more involved. The rest with the GP was sad to see, dad didn't know the day month or year and couldn't remember the name and address the doctor gave him.
As much as anything I want to know what help us three for him and my s/mum as she has a very very poor memory.

littleballerina Fri 21-Feb-14 18:43:26

the gp would have done the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) which isn't as in depth.

EmperorTomatoKetchup Sat 22-Feb-14 21:17:06

Sorry to hear you're having to go through this and hope the appointment goes 'well' thanks

For my mum we had a home visit from a nurse first, the first two appointments at the memory clinic were then with a Dr. The nurse was great, the Dr was useless and kept proclaiming my mum to be completely normal. On the second visit we basically insisted on a second opinion, he finally agreed when my mum started saying she had to get home as her mum (who had been dead 40 years) would be wondering where she was. We then saw the main Professor of Old age psychiatry who was fantastic and immediately prescribed Aricept. Don't be afraid to push for treatment/help/second opinion!

miffyt Fri 28-Feb-14 18:13:54

Yesterday was my dads first appointment at the memory clinic. I'd phoned the clinic earlier this week to ask what to expect. I was told he would have had a home visit first from a nurse, he hadn't seen anyone. I asked about a the CT scan that was mentioned in the letter he'd been sent and was told that if he needed one it would be a wait of eight weeks.
So actually what happened was, we met a very nice lady who asked me several questions in front of my dad so it was difficult to give frank answers. She did a test on him, most if the questions being the same as the GP did previously, she left off the last two as my dad has dyslexia, he got 18 out of 28. He now has to wait for a CT scan appointment to come through but it should only take about 3/4 weeks and he has an appointment booked to see a doctor in April to discus the results and se if he's suitable for medication.
To be honest I think I was hoping for something a little more in depth and the chance to speak in private about his problems,. By the nurses own admission, its very hard to talk about someone you're sat next to.

miffyt Fri 28-Feb-14 18:17:26

Thank you Emperor for your thoughts :-)

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