What happens at the assessment
Why have I been referred to EMDASS
You have been referred to EMDASS because you, or somebody close to you (for example your relatives or doctor) has noticed that that your memory might not have been as good as it used to be. They may have noticed other things as well, for example finding that things that you used to do have become more difficult for you, things like cooking, cleaning or even washing and getting dressed. The person making the referral to EMDASS will usually be made by your GP, who will have looked into your physical health and screened for other causes. They will have completed blood tests and other screening tools with you. They will ask us to try to understand the cause of the changes with you.
It is important to recognise that there may be many causes for the changes that have been identified; these could be related to depression or dementia, but may also be a result of an infection.
Before the appointment
Before the appointment we will call you (or your relative) to check that you know about the referral, and to understand more about your challenges. During this call we will also ask some basic questions to check your address, religion, marital status and your relative’s details. We will also answer any questions that you have.
It may be beneficial for you to have a brain scan at the local hospital, we will arrange for you to have but the appointment will be made by the local hospital directly with you.
It would help us if you would prepare and bring a list of any medication that you are taking. Please remember to include both prescribed and not prescribed medications.
At your appointment
We would encourage you to bring a relative, who can support you during your appointment.
Your appointment will be in one of our clinic settings, where you will be welcomed by a member of our reception staff. All of our staff are professionals who have chosen to specialise in the care of people with a cognitive disorder. You will usually be seen by a Nurse and Consultant Psychiatrist at your first appointment (though sometimes it may be one of them, or another professional).
They will discuss many things with you, for example the current situation and challenges, your past and how you have lived your life, your physical health and social circumstances. They will also complete some tests with you that are like questionnaires. There will also be a questionnaire for your relative to complete.
The appointment should last for around one and a half hours. At the end of the appointment the professional will explain to you, in a clear way that you can understand, what they feel the cause of your challenges are, and what will happen next.
What happens next
If we have made and explained a diagnosis to you, then we will arrange for you to be followed up by a Dementia Advisor or Dementia Support Worker (this is part of Post Diagnostic Support). Alternatively, we may invite you to a group that is not part of EMDASS (that we call a Mild Cognitive Impairment group and it is for people with mild cognitive difficulties). You will be given information about PDS or MCI groups which will explain this in more detail.
If we feel that more assessment is required, for example a neuropsychological assessment or an occupational therapy assessment, then a psychologist or occupational therapist from our team will contact you to make an appointment for these. Alternatively, we may ask a Neurologist or Geriatrician to see you. Our Consultant Psychiatrist would see you again to review their assessments and opinions and to explain the conclusion and what happens next.
If we feel that there isn’t a problem then we would discharge you back to your GP. They may review you again after a period of time and ask us to see you again if your challenges have continued.