Changes to Older People’s Community Mental Health Services and Memory Assessment Service during the Coronavirus pandemic
Updated December 2020
During the Coronavirus pandemic we have had to change the way we provided support to you, in order to keep you and our members of staff safe. This has meant limiting the amount of people we see face-to-face, and some of our services unfortunately being paused.
We want to update you on our current situation and what to expect.
How will I receive my care?
For the time being, the majority of your contact will be offered by digital methods where possible. This includes telephone, video consultations, and possibly text messaging and email.
If you are given an individual member of staff’s work phone number or email address, the appropriate use of this will be discussed with you.
We will still see people face-to-face where that is needed. This will include when we need to do memory tests that can’t be done remotely. Many people may receive a mixture of different contact types.
Keeping us all safe
If you are seen face-to-face, our staff must wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This could include face mask, apron, gloves and visor / goggles.
You should also wear a face covering unless you are exempt. A face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably.
We are unable to see people in some of our buildings at present, and when they do re-open, spaces will be very limited in order to maintain safety in our clinical areas.
If you need a face-to-face appointment but this cannot be done at your home or in an outdoor space, you may be asked to travel to an alternative Trust location to be seen.
What if telephone / video isn’t suitable for me?
You will not be disadvantaged
We recognise that digital doesn’t suit everybody. You may not have the equipment, know how to use it, have private space, or other things that make it difficult for you.
You have a choice
The team should discuss your preferences with you, and agree how you will communicate and receive your care. This can change and be reviewed as part of your care plan.
We can help
We will try to support you in overcoming some of these barriers where we can, so you can receive the same care by video consultation. This can be done on a computer, smartphone or tablet. We can offer advice and help to get set up online.
Why aren’t things returning to how they were?
Limiting the spread of the virus
We have to take a cautious approach and continue to limit our face-to-face contacts as much as possible to avoid further spread of the virus. This is to keep you, your families, and our staff safe.
We cannot run things such as outpatient clinics as we used to due to the limited space in our buildings. Using digital technologies allows us to still offer those services just in other ways.
Impact of PPE
We know it can be difficult communicating and building a relationship with staff in masks. A video consultation can sometimes be better than a face-to-face appointment in this case, so you can see the professional’s face whilst talking to them.
Many people have found benefits to video and telephone consultations. This includes reduced travel, reduced costs, increased flexibility and more. For this reason it is something we want to continue to offer moving forwards.
We thank you for your patience and understanding
We’re keen to hear about your thoughts and experiences of your care over recent months.
If you have received a survey please consider sparing a few minutes to complete it and send it back to us in the prepaid envelope provided.
Alternatively, you can complete our feedback survey online:
or scan the QR code with your smartphone camera.
The Memory Assessment Service (MAS) provides assessment, diagnosis and treatment and post diagnostic support for people in Leeds diagnosed with dementia and mild cognitive impairment.
The aim of the MAS is to offer people with suspected dementia and their carers
- A positive experience of diagnosis
- High quality post-diagnosis support
Access to treatments and management of their dementia alongside any other long-term conditions.
Our vision is that dementia should be managed as a long-term condition, which is often present with other long-term conditions, and requires timely access to specialist services. This achieves “the best of both” for people and carers, so that physical and mental health needs are treated together and with “parity of esteem”.
We support the Leeds Dementia Strategy which emphasises that increasing diagnosis must be connected to post-diagnosis support, so that people with the condition and their carers experience better quality of life and quality of care as a result of diagnosis. Therefore we provide a reliable connection from diagnosis to a quality standard of treatment, support and information.
What to expect
The Memory Assessment Service provides:
- Help for you and your carers to make informed choices about the diagnostic process
- Timely assessment, with people referred to Memory Services having their first face to face contact within eight weeks of receipt of referral
- Timely diagnosis, with people referred to Memory Services being given a diagnosis (or confirmed as having no diagnosis) within 12 weeks of receipt of the referral
- High quality treatment and short term interventions for people diagnosed with dementia
- Opportunities for people with dementia and other memory problems to become involved in research
- Support for people diagnosed with dementia and mild cognitive impairment after diagnosis
- A care plan that sets out how the needs identified by the assessment and diagnostic process may be met
Pre-assessment contact with service users
We provide help to service users and carers before assessment so that everyone:
- Understands the process and gives informed consent
- Is prepared for the possibility of a diagnosis of dementia being given
In some cases we can offer a face to face pre-assessment meeting. For example:
- If a service user contacts us and either asks for/appears to need more information, or appears sufficiently upset to require more support through the assessment process
- The referred person has no identified carer and will be attending alone
- The referred person does not have English as a first language
- The referred person has a significant sensory impairment that will prevent them reading the pre-assessment leaflet or prevent them being able to phone up to find out more information.
All initial assessments will take place face-to-face and will last up 90 minutes, with some additional time for note taking and administration.
All initial assessments will cover:
- Detail about a person’s symptoms
- Past physical and mental health history
- Current prescribed (and non-prescribed) medication,
- Mental state examination
- Cognitive assessment
- Personal history and current (social and emotional) support network
- An assessment of functional ability and risk issues
- Discussion around driving, housing, benefits and lifestyle choices (if appropriate).
Following the initial assessment the information gathered is discussed by our team. From there we’ll produce a diagnosis.
What happens then?
This is when we would share a diagnosis and potentially start medication.
We aim to ensure 80% of service users receive their diagnosis within 12 weeks of referral. In the majority of cases, a diagnosis will be shared by the involved psychiatrist.
Treatment options will be discussed at the diagnostic appointment and, where clinically appropriate, start medication. Where a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is given, the person will be provided with appropriate post diagnostic support and then transferred back to their GP.
Everyone with a diagnosis of dementia or MCI will be offered two sessions of post diagnostic support. This aims to:
- Support people who’ve just received a diagnosis to help them adjust to the news
- Check they have understood what the diagnosis means
- Provide information that enables them to gain further support from other health and care providers, such as memory support workers.
- Keep a check for any side effects from the medication
Memory Support Workers
The Memory Support Worker Team works in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society to provide a service to people who have memory problems or a diagnosis of dementia.
Our aim is to ensure everyone living with dementia or experiencing memory problems in the Leeds area is able to access meaningful information, advice and support.
We enable our service users to attend memory cafes, carers groups, and ensure they can access support to manage finances and get help with decision-making if they need it.
The service provision extends to family and carers and, if appropriate, we will signpost on to other services.
The team work closely with all primary care services, voluntary services and our Trust’s Memory Assessment Service. They also spend some of their time offering a service to our Community Mental Health Teams.
This section is for health and care professionals looking to make a referral to the Memory Assessment Service.
Referrals to the Service are made through the LYPFT Single Point of Access (SPA).
All referrers are requested to provide:
- Evidence that the person with memory problems has consented to the referral
- Rationale for suspicion of dementia
- Collateral information on the individual’s level of functioning – from both the person and their carer/family/friends (with the patient’s consent)
- Confirmation that CT Head scan has been requested (if clinically indicated and patient has consented)
- Confirmation of completion of dementia screening bloods (FBC, U+E, LFT, calcium, glucose/HbA1c, thyroid function test, serum vitamin B12 and folate levels)
- Confirmation of physical examination to rule out delirium
- 6CIT, GP COG or equivalent
Referrals will be considered where there is evidence of the following:
- The person has experienced memory problems and/or other symptoms of possible dementia for at least 6 months that are not the result of a recent head injury.
- Family/Carer/Significant others have become aware of the problem and have raised concerns
- Investigations have been undertaken in Primary Care (or elsewhere) prior to referral – see basic Dementia screen above in order to rule out other treatable causes.
- A brief Cognitive test such as the GPCOG or 6CIT has been completed.
- Where GP is unable to complete DiaDem for people with suspected Dementia residing in 24 hour care.
The referral should also include information relating to physical examination, recent and past medical history, and current prescribed medications. A referral for a CT Head Scan is essential (assuming clinically indicated and the patient has consented).
Access to service for known service users and carers
We do not provide a service for people who have an existing diagnosis of Dementia unless a second opinion is being sought.
What does the service look like?
The Leeds Memory Assessment Service accepts referrals for Leeds residents and any patient of a Leeds GP. The service will work in partnership with services providing memory assessment and dementia diagnosis in neighbouring areas, to ensure people can access the right service and resolve any difficulties.
The MAS operates in three locality teams as part of the Older People’s Community Mental Health Service. It will operate a clinical service between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays.
Advice and support
If a health professional has given you a specific phone number to call when you are concerned about your condition, continue to use that number.
We recommend the following places where you can find helpful and reliable information with links to further help and support.
MindWell is the single ‘go to’ website for information about mental health in Leeds. It includes advice on practical help with things like housing, benefits or money problems.
The National NHS website
The national NHS website (formerly known as NHS Choices) is the official website of the National Health Service in England. It provides a comprehensive health information service helping you to make the best choices about your health and lifestyle, but also about making the most of NHS and social care services in England.
For less urgent health needs, you should contact your GP or a local pharmacist in the usual way. For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, always call 999.
Please note this is not comprehensive list of services but a few suggestions of how to get started finding help and information.
How to contact the service
Our Memory Assessment Service is based with our Older People’s Community Mental Health Service across three locality areas. Each locality has a dedicated Older People’s Community Mental Health Team and a Memory Assessment Service base.
Teams covering South Leeds are based at
Aire Court Community Unit
Tel: 0113 8550673
Teams covering East North East Leeds are based at
St Mary’s House
St Mary’s Road
Tel: 0113 8558877
Teams covering West North West Leeds* are based at
St Mary’s Hospital
Green Hill Road
Tel: 0113 8550547
* The West North West area also has a satellite base at Millfield House in Yeadon.
Tel: 0113 85 59350