Research Article - Journal of Mental Health and Aging (2019) Volume 3, Issue 1
Delays in diagnosis for people with Young Onset Dementia.
The timely diagnosis of dementia for people under the age of 65 years remains challenging in the UK because of variable referral routes to specialist assessment, complexity of diagnosis and the increased likelihood of a rarer form of dementia which requires further investigations. This study investigates the time to diagnosis and number of consultations for patients subsequently diagnosed with young onset dementia who were referred to a local Neurology service and/or Memory Clinic. A retrospective audit of case notes and clinic letters was carried out. The average time from GP referral to diagnosis was 9.7 months. This is quicker than reported in other studies, but the service described has a referral care pathway and good post diagnostic support. Nevertheless 72% of patients received two to five consultations and 7% between five and ten consultations before a diagnosis was made. 60% of people referred to Neurology services took over 6 months to receive a diagnosis compared with 30% of people referred to the Memory Clinic. YOD patients seen by neurology services took on average 6 months longer to receive a confirmed diagnosis than patients who were seen by the Wokingham Memory Clinic. Further research is needed to investigate the symptom and demographic profiles of those referred to the respective services. There are merits to assessment and follow-up within both Neurology and Memory Clinic services and this paper advocates for more joined up working between the two disciplines and commissioning of a care pathway for people with young onset dementia and complex dementia which could reduce the time to diagnosis and the need for multiple specialist assessments.Author(s): Jacqueline Sally Hussey, Gemma Butler