As part of the Dementia Vision in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, a programme of work led by people living with dementia and their carers; a decision was made to change the name of the Memory Assessment Service (MAS), to Dementia Assessment and Support Service (DASS).
The service provides a dementia care pathway across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin that provides specialist help for people presenting with possible onset of dementia and / or for those that already have a diagnosis of dementia.
The dementia pathway has a whole-team approach: the team consists of consultant psychiatrists, middle-grade doctors, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, nurse practitioners, mental health nurses, assistant practitioners and health care support workers. There are specialist nurse practitioners in the assessment clinics to help with earlier diagnosis and treatment.
The service offers specialist dementia assessment, diagnosis and treatment. It also provides advice and support for anyone who cares for an individual living with dementia as a service as and when needed following diagnosis. Recognising that additional support may be required to enable an individual to live at home, DASS will liaise and work alongside other services as required to support them to live well with dementia and as independently as possible with an aim of avoiding hospital or a need for 24-hour care wherever possible. An individual wishing to access this service would need to be referred by their GP.
The reasoning behind the name change is to raise the profile of dementia and help reduce the stigma, which is often due to fear, lack of awareness and understanding of the disease. It’s just as important that dementia is recognised as far more than just issues affecting an individual’s memory.
George Rook, Chair of the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Dementia Steering Group, said: “We need to talk about dementia like we need to talk about death or cancer. Dementia is not just about memory; symptoms vary hugely between individuals, and memory is often not the most obvious one. So, let’s call it what it is: the Dementia Assessment and Support Service.”