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Memory clinic gains accreditation

27 May 2010

A specialist memory clinic run by a dedicated team at Health and Social Services has been given national accreditation for their work by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and is one of the first 10 in the British Isles to gain the status.

The Jersey Memory Clinic offers a specialised service in the assessment and management of memory and cognitive problems.The objective of the clinic is the early diagnosis and intervention of dementia as this is essential in any attempt to slow the progression of the illness.The accreditation is valid for a period of 4 years after which the team will have to complete another assessment to retain the accreditation.

Following a detailed assessment of their work, the memory clinic has become part of the Memory Service National Accreditation Programme (MSNAP).This accreditation applies clinical and organisational standards for the assessment and diagnosis of dementia.

Speaking about the assessment, which took place as self-assessment between September and December 2009, Dr Juan Melendez, the dedicated psychiatrist for the memory clinic said “This accreditation is very good news as it demonstrates not only that we welcome external review but also that our practice standards meet the quality standards proposed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. It also recognises the dedication and professionalism of our multidisciplinary team. This is another step in making sure that people with memory problems or dementia in Jersey and their families receive the best quality care possible.”

Before receiving the accreditation, a range of areas in the memory clinic had to be assessed, including:

  • transport facilities to attend the clinic
  • length of time to receive an appointment
  • information included in the appointment letter
  • waiting time to be assessed
  • evidence of ongoing training and appraisal among staff
  • audit activity
  • patient satisfaction questionnaires

The memory clinic was first set up in 1997, following the license approval of Donepezil, which is a prescription anti-dementia drug and ran once every 2 weeks, catering for both new patients and those who required a follow-up. Since then, it has grown considerably, and now consists of 2 full-time community psychiatric nurses (Sister Alison Miller and Mrs Diane Saralis), a full time doctor in Old Age Psychiatry (Dr. Juan Melendez), and an associate neuro psychologist (Miss Julie Moignard) 2 sessions a week.

The clinic is supervised by consultant in old age psychiatry, Dr Lesley Wilson, and patients can be referred, when indicated, to other health care professionals who are part of the multidisciplinary team such as:

  • occupational therapists
  • social workers
  • community psychiatry nurses
  • speech and language therapists
  • day care services

“The Memory Clinic can also direct patients and relatives to other agencies who might be able to help them such as Day Services, respite care, the  Jersey Alzheimer’s Association, and Family Nursing and Home Care" said Dr Melendez.

“The Memory Clinic is not purely a clinical experience" said Dr Melendez. “Our nurses follow people up in the community giving advice and support, as well as formulating care packages and managing any problems that may occur. Much of our job involves educating people about the disease and hopefully this can alleviate some fears and reduce the stigma attached to dementia."

In the past the memory clinic team have also undertaken detailed research studies which involves not only looking at a person's cognitive status, but also at their functional level and any behaviour changes as well as stress on carers and conversational skills. People referred would have a detailed clinical history taken as well as a basic memory assessment at home, before they came to the clinic.”

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