What to expect

If you have noticed issues with your memory and decided to seek help, here are some of the things you can expect from the process.

Line illustration of a telescope looking forward

1. Referral

Make contact

Usually the first step should be to make an appointment with your GP, to talk about the changes that you or others are noticing. Ask someone who knows you well to go with you. Write down anything you’d like to discuss with your doctor and take that with you.


Your GP will talk through your symptoms and do some simple tests, including taking some blood. If your GP thinks that the Memory Assessment Service will be best placed to help at this point, they will make the referral.


Next you will receive a letter in the post from us, and a questionnaire to complete and discuss with your Memory Support Worker.

Memory Support Worker

You will receive a phone call from a friendly Memory Support Worker. This person understands the social and emotional aspects to living well with memory problems and dementia. They will listen to your experiences, check a few more details about you and your situation, and explain what they can help you with. This person will be your named support worker as you move through your journey, and will help you navigate the wider healthcare system, which we know can be confusing and complex.

2. Assessment


One of our staff will get in touch to arrange a meeting with a specialist nurse. This is a longer session, up to around 90 minutes. The nurse will ask you about your medical history and take you through some assessments.


Our specialist doctors and nurses review all the information that has been gathered so far about the changes to your mind is working.

Will I need a scan?

As part of the assessment process, our team may feel that a scan is needed. The need for a scan depends on things such as your medical history and the symptoms you are experiencing. If we feel a scan would be helpful for you, we will offer you an MRI or CT scan. Typically this will happen within a few weeks.

We will never use just a scan to make a diagnosis of dementia. Our clinical team will review all information gathered throughout the assessment process including symptoms and medical history as part of the diagnosis formulation.


Once the clinical team has reviewed all the results, we will be in contact to arrange an outcome appointment. Sometimes the clinical team may feel that additional tests or other services may be needed. If so, we will let you know and make the referrals. 

3. Support and treatment


If your results mean that the Memory Assessment Service is best placed to continue supporting you, we will help get things in place.

Will I be offered medication?

If you are diagnosed with dementia, our clinical team will review whether medication is an option. Currently, there is no known cure for dementia and the medication available will not change the progression of the disease but it can help with the symptoms that people experience. Not everyone is suitable for medication due to their medical history, and not every form of dementia has a treatment option.

If medication is an appropriate option for you, we will offer you an appointment with our prescribers. We have a number of clinicians working in the service who you might see for this appointment including our Nurse Prescriber, Prescribing Pharmacist and our Doctors and Consultants.

Care plan

If we discover you have mild cognitive impairment or you are diagnosed with dementia, your Memory Support Worker will offer you a care plan. This plan is based on what matters most to you and your support network while also helping you to adjust to the diagnosis, understand what it means and the value of planning for the future. We want to help people live well and we recognise that this will mean something different to everyone. So your Memory Support Worker will make sure that your care plan is personalised to better meet your needs.

If you have received a diagnosis of dementia, the Memory Assessment Service will be here for you for life and we review your care regularly. We’ll work with you and the people that matter most to you, and respond to your needs as they develop. This could mean additional meetings for a specific issue, or more regular check-ins during tricky times.

Peer support groups

You will be invited to join a peer support group. These are regular, in-person meetings for those with memory issues and the people who are supporting them.

The purpose of these meetings is to help people adjust to the diagnosis. As well as providing information and advice from invited speakers, these sessions are an opportunity for you to meet others who may be experiencing similar issues, and to form new connections.

The peer support groups are led by Memory Support Workers, and supported by a Carer Link Worker from the Carers Centre.

Ongoing support

Overall the process of getting a diagnosis or another kind of result usually takes around 9 – 12 weeks. However, we don’t rush anything if you need more time for different parts of the journey.

If you receive a diagnosis of dementia, we will offer ongoing support as long as you need it, or help you access the service that’s best placed for you.

Whenever you have contact with the Memory Assessment Service you will be treated with
courtesy, honesty, respect and dignity. We will work with you and involve you in decisions
about your care. We will treat everyone fairly regardless of their race, sexuality, disability,
age, gender or religion.

Find out more about what to expect

In this video, Samantha (our lead support worker) and Alison (our lead nurse specialist) explain more about:

  • what it’s like to come to us for a memory assessment
  • what happens during and after the diagnosis process

(Video transcript).

Meet the team

Meet our multi-disciplinary team of clinical and support staff.

Our Team