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New dementia service hailed 'outstanding'

A dedicated frailty memory service set up at the Countess to improve access to diagnosis and support for elderly patients with dementia has been hailed as ‘outstanding’ by the national Neurology Academy.

We want to offer huge congratulations to Community Consultant Geriatrician Dr Michelle McCarthy and her colleague, Specialist Occupational Therapist (OT) Clare O'Donnell, for their outstanding project developing a frailty memory service within the Community Healthy Ageing team.

The Community Healthy Ageing Team at The Countess of Chester Hospital had discovered through their work visiting elderly patients in their homes that many people living in the community had undiagnosed dementia. 

 Frailty Team Min

Recognising that their frailer patients often went undiagnosed due to complex health needs which caused them to struggle to access memory services, Michelle and Clare felt compelled to create a new service, and together they developed a new diagnostic process, piloting a monthly frailty memory meeting with Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Anna Watkin.

The pathway includes support with assessments from Therapy Support Worker, Sharon Skerratt and signposting to post-diagnostic information provided by Karen Barry Age UK Wellbeing Co-ordinator.

After seeing 70 patients in this frailty memory service to date, Michelle and Clare have ascertained that there is a higher rate of dementia amongst their frailer patients and are looking to develop a business case to continue providing this new service.

This project, along with 16 others, was developed as part of the 7th Dementia Masterclass, a UK wide course run by the Neurology Academy for dementia specialists.

Head of Faculty at the Neurology Academy Prof Iracema Leroi, said: ’We were incredibly impressed by the range of work to come out of the course, from assessing cognition to screening for delirium, developing pathways to improving post-diagnostic support.

“There was a fantastic output in terms of quality and number of projects resulting from this Dementia MasterClass.

“Most delegates followed a really robust audit or quality improvement methodology. Huge congratulations to our first Dementia masterclass project winner Michelle McCarthy.”#DementiaMC.