Mental health services for older people (MHSOP) - Harrogate and Craven

The memory service is based at Alexander House - an inpatient unit in Knaresborough:

Alexander House

Ash Tree Road


North Yorkshire, HG5 0UB

Tel number: 01423 795174

About the service

The memory assessment and services pathway provides an assessment and ACI (acetyl-cholinesterase inhibitor) monitoring service for clients with possible dementia and those with a diagnosis who have been commenced on ACI therapy.

The pathway provides specialist mental health assessment to clients who have been referred with concerns over their memory and associated functioning.

The service aims to:

  • Provide specialist assessment of clients with memory problems
  • Provide a diagnosis to those clients who choose to receive one
  • Start acetyl-cholinesterase inhibitor (ACI) therapy where indicated
  • Monitor the efficacy of ACI therapy in line with current NICE guidelines
  • Work in partnership with adult and community services and the voluntary sector by way of sign-posting clients to ongoing support services and social care, where necessary
  • Offer a 'Living Well with Memory Loss' education programme.

The service is aimed at clients over the age of 65, as well as clients presenting with early onset of memory problems (less than 65 years).

The team

The team is multidisciplinary and includes doctors, nurses, health care assistants, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, psychologist and secretaries.

How to access the service

Referrals to the service are only accepted from GPs, hospital specialists or other members of specialist mental health services.

Following referral the patient will be contacted by a member of the team and offered an appointment at the nurse led clinic in Knaresborough. Patients are asked to let staff know if they have difficulties leaving their home to attend clinics as they will be able to arrange a home visit.

What can patients expect?

The clinic appointment will last about an hour. The patient will be asked to take part in a comprehensive assessment of their needs, including an assessment of risk. The assessor will talk to relatives/carers where appropriate and where the patient agrees for this to happen. The assessment will also include testing of memory and some physical health questions, the patient will be weighed and height measured and their blood pressure will be taken.

If any immediate risks or issues arise which are related to but not part of the memory assessment process, the assessor will help the patient to manage these either by signposting or referring the patient on to another service to get the help they need.

The patient will be offered another appointment to come and see the doctor to get the results of the tests, and if appropriate a diagnosis. If recommended and if the patient agrees medication will be prescribed at this visit.

A member of the team will contact the patient approximately 4 weeks after their medication has been prescribed to do a telephone check on response to treatment. If all is well the patient may be asked to increase their medication and a further prescription will be sent to their home. A further check will be carried out by phone at 8 weeks.

The patient maybe referred to the voluntary sector for further support, if agreed and will be invited to attend at 'A living well with Dementia' educational group".

Medication will be reviewed 6 monthly. This currently takes place at the clinic in Knaresborough, by appointment.