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We provide a Dementia Care pathway across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin that provides specialist help for people with cognitive problems and who have a diagnosis of dementia.  We work alongside and in partnership with a number of other local services such Admiral Nurses, Alzheimer’s Society and Social Care.

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 also specialist nurse practitioners who provide assessment clinics to help with early diagnosis and treatment.

The service offers specialist (take out word memory) assessment, diagnosis and treatment. We also provide advice and information for you and anyone who cares for you. You will be supported by a member of the team who will regularly review your care.

We look to commence your assessment within 4 weeks of referral to the service. This allows us to meet with you and your family or carers to find out more about your current difficulties or if you have any anxieties or concerns about the service and to discuss next steps in your care.   For some people additional support may be needed to help them remain at home, our aim is always to support people to live the life they want for as long as possible.

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.”