NHS England and NHS Improvement published the second version of the its Memory Service Assessments: A New Way of Working guidance on the 17th December 2020.
The revision reflects changes in Memory Services since the first version of the paper was published in May 2020, and outlines best practice in delivering safe, person-centred care through a blended model of assessment and diagnosis. The COVID-19 pandemic inevitably led to changes in the way Memory Assessment Services (MAS) operate. Some MAS staff were redeployed to other activities within mental health trusts, some services closed to new referrals and some clinics put on hold new assessments for people who had already been referred. The continued ebb and flow of national lockdown restrictions to manage the pandemic has affected waiting times for MAS. People who have memory problems and dementia have also been waiting longer for support.
MAS have had to adapt to provide a safe service during the pandemic, embracing alternative approaches to assessing patients. This includes using telephone and video consultations and providing virtual occupational therapy and neuropsychological testing. This has occurred alongside changing thresholds for investigations like brain scans.
MAS that are usually involved in recruiting to dementia research studies, which involve patient assessments will also be changing. In these challenging times, services like Join Dementia Research are a fantastic resource which support volunteer recruitment with a service which can be used remotley.
Read more at: Memory Service Assessments: A New Way of Working