Arts 4 Dementia outlines the procedure from your first visit to the GP, your assessment, diagnosis, care plan and recommendations.
If concerned about memory loss, the first step is to visit your GP. (Forgetfulness is not necessarily due to dementia and may be a natural result of ageing, stress, depression or other causes.) The GP eliminates organic physical possibilities and takes bloods.
Memory Service, Neurologist or Community Mental Health Assessment
Your GP will refer you to the community mental health or memory assessment service, or individual neurologist, for CT scans, memory tests (Mini Mental State Examination) and a neurological assessment. Due to the changing structure of the NHS, mental health service provision varies from area to area. It may be a neurologist, community mental health service, neurologist, memory clinic or GP who gives the diagnosis of dementia.
Your GP or local community mental health team will let you know your diagnosis, inform you about the condition, treatment and support options in your area. Early diagnosis will enable you to
- receive treatment to slow progression,
- receive support and direction,
- plan for the future
- lead active life for years
Personalised Care Plan
Your assessment and ongoing personalised care plan, prepared by health and social care professionals, will address your individual needs and name your care coordinator. Your family – spouse, partner, sons, daughters, companions - are offered an assessment of emotional, psychological and social needs. Once this is agreed, you will receive the tailored interventions identified by the care plan. Potential interventions include:
- constructive medication
- artistic stimulation, as outlined in the Arts 4 Dementia Best-Practice Conference.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) Guideline 42 Dementia: Supporting People and their Carers (NICE/SCIE, 2006) recommends the therapeutic use of music and dance in its explanation of the support and treatment options available in the NHS and social care for people with dementia.
The Department of Health booklet Who Cares: Information and Support for Carers of People with Dementia (2007) recommends listening to music, singing and dancing.