National Audit of Dementia publishes Spotlight Report on Memory Assessment Services

Press release
11 August 2022
A new report by the National Audit of Dementia reports on increased waiting times to initial assessment and diagnosis of dementia in community-based memory services, within the context of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lockdown had a severe impact across services, with 66% experiencing both periods of closure and staff redeployment.  The average waiting time from referral to diagnosis has increased by over four and a half weeks.

The report also looks at offers of virtual assessment, routine assessment, diagnosis and treatment and post diagnostic intervention. 

35% patients had an appointment via phone or video call, 45% at their usual place of residence.

Some routine preliminary assessments were not carried out (or not recorded) for all patients. As part of their initial assessment, 61% patients had a discussion recorded about eyesight, 58% had a discussion recorded about hearing. 76% had a falls history discussed and recorded. 

62% of patients with a working or confirmed diagnosis were offered a post diagnostic intervention (excluding signposting to another service). This varies across services from 2.9-100% patients to be offered an intervention after diagnosis. 25% of services are not offering Cognitive Stimulation Therapy. NICE guideline NG97 recommends Cognitive Stimulation Therapy for patients with mild to moderate dementia. 

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