The Northern Health and Social Care Trust has launched a new memory service for the increasing numbers of people with undiagnosed dementia in Antrim and Ballymena .
The service has been established to help people to live well with dementia through timely diagnosis and support.
A comprehensive service is offered including pre-diagnostic counselling, timely comprehensive assessment, post diagnostic counselling, support and education.
If anyone thinks they may have dementia, or know someone who may, they can speak to their GP or other healthcare professionals to request a referral to the service.
Following referral a Memory Link Worker will make contact to explain how the Memory Service works and to offer pre-diagnostic counselling.
A comprehensive assessment will then be arranged in partnership with the individual. The assessment can provide a number of outcomes; it can confirm if an individual has dementia and, if so, the specific type of dementia. It can also confirm if someone doesn’t have the condition and perhaps has a mild cognitive impairment.
People with a diagnosis of dementia are allocated a key worker to offer support and co-ordinate their care.
They will also support the individual by planning for care in the future including changes to their routine such as family members going on holidays, or loved ones going into hospital. By providing the right support at the right time, the service can help someone to live well with dementia ensuring they encounter as little stress as possible and preventing a crisis occurring.
Dr Frances Duffy, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Northern Trust said “Your memory does deteriorate as you get older but if you feel you, or a loved one, may have an undiagnosed dementia please contact your GP.
“By getting diagnosed early and having the right support people can still continue to live well”.
It is planned that the service will roll out across the Northern Trust area.