Concerned About Your Memory Checklist
The idea for a checklist came from conversations the Social Innovation Lab Kent (SILK) had with people living with dementia and carers who said they had found it quite a long process to get a diagnosis. Many people described that they knew something was wrong but found it hard to explain to their doctors in a way that prompted the GP to refer them for further investigation. Some people told us they had multiple appointments with their GP before being referred to the Memory Clinic for assessment.
“I went to the doctor with a memory problem, it took two or three more goes to make him understand. That’s only because that’s who I am, but some people can’t stand up for themselves and can’t be forceful to make the doctor understand”.
The people we spoke to identified that they would have liked something to help prepare them for the appointment so that the time they had with the doctor could be used most effectively. To do this people would need to be aware of the symptoms of dementia and how these symptoms related to what they were experiencing.
Continually working with people living with dementia and carers this idea developed into a checklist that could be filled in prior to an appointment. The checklist would feature symptoms of dementia and also some preparatory questions for the person to complete which would be shared with the GP to assess whether further investigation is required.
SILK worked with members of the then Kent and Medway Dementia Collaborative to identify examples of similar documents. SILK then took these to people living with dementia, carers and professionals to see what aspects people thought were helpful or not. The checklist started to form based on this feedback.
A first prototype of the checklist was developed and this was shared with the Kent and Medway Dementia Collaborative in addition to all involved so far. This version was tweaked until a document was created that all involved were happy to trial. Copies were printed and handed out to a variety of agencies and front line services via many of the community events across Kent. The Community Mental Health Teams in Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone were also given copies to hand out to their patients.
The checklist will continue to be distributed by local NHS teams and is available in hard copy but an online version is also available below: