Helping primary care to support people with dementia

Referral for a diagnosis

April 7 2014

This leaflet produced by the Lewy Body Society highlights the importance of practitioners identifying the main symptoms of Lewy body dementia early to enable referral to a specialist at a memory clinic for correct diagnosis to be made.

Download Referral for a diagnosis

The early symptoms of Lewy body dementia, such as visual hallucinations, fluctuation in alertness and slowing of movements, can often be mistaken for physical illness, especially in an older person.

The diagnosis of Lewy body dementia is not always straightforward and it can take several consultations before it is recognised correctly. GPs should encourage their patients to keep a record of their symptoms and how often they occur.

The diagnosis is best made by people who have the most experience in dealing with the problem. These are usually Old Age Psychiatrists, Geriatricians and Neurologists (dependent on what symptoms are predominant).

GPs should encourage their patients to prepare for the appointment to see a specialist at a memory clinic, where they will be asked about their symptoms, medical history and background.

Various tests are carried out and usually a family member is asked to discuss any changes they may have noticed in the patient. They may also be asked to complete an assessment form to help clinic staff understand the problems clearly. Sometimes this is done during one long clinic session and sometimes it is split over two visits.

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