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Aide memoire: What should a memory clinic or a memory assessment service look like?

  • T. O’Carroll (a1), K. Glynn (a1), D. Lyons (a1) and K. Looney (a1)

With the global ageing of our societies and the predicted increase of cognitive impairment and dementia, there is increasing interest in the role and scope of memory clinics or memory assessment services in the early assessment, diagnosis and management of all subtypes of dementia. Memory clinics generally attempt to provide a multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment of memory impairment and dementia. However, little consensus exists about the profile or complement of staff that would constitute an ideal memory clinic, and services vary widely in terms of their organisation, remit and functioning. The purpose of this article is to highlight the variation amongst the existing complement of memory clinics in Ireland. The 17 models are compared in terms of their core multidisciplinary service and services available on referral. The Irish National Dementia Strategy recommends a well-coordinated service that provides early diagnosis and treatment, and one with good links to local support agencies. However, many of the services in Ireland lack input from relevant allied health professionals. This article also focusses on one privately funded memory clinic in Ireland which aims to bridge the gap between accurate diagnosis, holistic assessment and follow-up through comprehensive multidisciplinary input. The challenges facing this service are discussed, with particular reference to the difficulties encountered when providing community follow-up by a private sector clinic.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Dr T. O’Carroll, Department of Psychiatry of Later Life, St Patrick’s University Hospital, PO Box 136, James’s Street, Dublin 8, Ireland. (Email:
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Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0790-9667
  • EISSN: 2051-6967
  • URL: /core/journals/irish-journal-of-psychological-medicine
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