Memory Protection Service – Sunderland, South Tyneside and Gateshead – Public information leaflet

Information for people attending the Memory Protection Service for assessment and diagnosis.

This leaflet may not be reproduced in whole or in part, without the permission of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

  • Introduction

    There are many reasons why people may become forgetful. Some medicines and drugs can affect memory. Depression, anxiety, vitamin deficiency and thyroid problems can also cause forgetfulness, so it is important to get the right diagnosis. Your GP will be able to either reassure you or, if necessary refer you to a specialist.

  • What are the signs and symptoms of memory difficulties?

    • Memory Loss – forgetting appointments or peoples names
    • Repetition – asking the same question several times
    • Problems with language – eg difficultly getting words out in conversation
    • Misplacing things – such as keys, wallet
    • Problem solving – more difficulty following recipes or keeping track of monthly bills.
    • Difficulties performing familiar tasks – eg carrying out house hold chores or work related tasks
    • Poor or decreased judgment – eg dealing with unfamiliar situations or when things don’t go to plan
    • Changes in personality – eg becoming withdrawn or more out spoken
    • Low mood/loss of initiative – eg difficulty motivating self with hobbies and daily tasks

    Every person is unique and may present with different symptoms. If you think that these problems are affecting your daily life, or the life of someone you know, you should talk to your doctor.

  • Who can refer to the Memory Protection Service?

    Any health care professional i.e. GP, District Nurse etc can refer into the service. You may also contact the service directly and speak to one of our nurses. They will be happy to give advice as to how the service may be of help.

  • What will happen to me once I have been referred?

    If you have not already done so, we will ask you to attend your doctor’s surgery for some blood tests which will rule out most of the obvious physical causes of memory problems.

    Once we have received the blood results you will be offered an appointment to see one of our nurses, or occasionally another member of the team.

  • What happens at the appointment?

    The assessment is usually done over two appointments. The team consists of specialist trained staff that all have different roles and expertise, such as doctors, nurses, psychologists and occupational therapists. You will see the person best able to assist you which may be one or more of the members of the team.

  • What happens next?

    There may be a need for some additional assessments between the first and second appointment which will be explained to you. You will be offered a second appointment which takes approximately 45 minutes with the most appropriate clinician who will discuss the outcome of the assessment with you. They will be able to discuss treatment and management options.

  • What are the advantages of having your memory assessed?

    The assessment may result in a possible explanation for the changes in your memory or thinking abilities. Often people find it a relief to know what might be causing their difficulties and this can reduce their anxiety.

    There may also be medication which can help or other treatments for additional conditions that may be associated with these problems.

    Having your memory assessed can help you and your family access support, plan for the future and make adaptations in your lives to make things easier.

  • Contact details

    For further advice and support please contact:
    The Memory Protection Service Tel: Tel: 0191 566 5422

    If you are worried that your memory is poor and getting worse or if you have these concerns about someone you are close to, please encourage them to see their GP.

    Alternatively, contact the Memory Protection Service and speak to one of our nurses.

  • Information about content, other formats and version control

    Further information about the content, reference sources or production of this leaflet can be obtained from the Patient Information Centre. If you would like to tell us what you think about this leaflet please get in touch.

    This information can be made available in a range of formats on request (eg Braille, audio, larger print, easy read, BSL or other languages). Please contact the Patient Information Centre Tel: 0191 246 7288
    Published by the Patient Information Centre
    2023 Copyright, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
    Ref, PIC/700/0323 March 2023 V4 Tel: 0191 246 7288
    Review date 2026