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Development of memory clinics in the Netherlands: 1998 to 2009

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Objectives: Memory clinics (MCs) are multidisciplinary teams involved with early diagnosis and treatment of people with dementia. The main aim of this study was to gain more insight into the development of MCs in the Netherlands since 1998. Methods: In 1998, 2004 and 2009, an MC survey with questions about patient groups, organisation and working procedures of the MC were sent to all MCs in the Netherlands. Results: The number of MCs increased from 12 in 1998, to 43 in 2004 and to 63 in 2009. In 2009, MCs were better embedded with other regional care and were delivering services for dementia with less emphasis on university-based research. While dementia was still the most common syndromal diagnosis, the proportion of subjects diagnosed with milder memory problems increased to 39%. Diagnostic tools, blood assessments and brain imaging were used in nearly all the facilities. There was an increase both in the use of extensive neuropsychological assessments and in the use of cerebrospinal fluid diagnostics. Conclusion: MCs in the Netherlands have outgrown the primarily university-based setting, have focussed less on scientific research, and have taken a place in the regular care of people with cognitive problems and people in early phases of dementia.
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Keywords: early diagnosis of dementia; memory clinics; memory services; monitor; survey

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology/Alzheimer Centre Limburg, School of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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