Different service models – Young onset dementia in Leeds: a collaboration between neurology and psychiatry

Our June 2024 webinar was led by Dr Rumana Chowdhury, Neurology Consultant at Leeds Cognitive Neurology Service, and Dr Zumer Jawaid, Consultant Psychiatrist in the Younger People with Dementia Team at St Mary’s Hospital, Leeds.

Younger people often wait a long time and see a number of different specialists before a diagnosis is made. Their cases may be complex and require multiple tests and greater levels of support. The joint clinic for young onset dementia in Leeds was developed with this in mind to obtain an opinion from both psychiatry and neurology from the outset and throughout the diagnostic pathway.

This approach allows investigations to be arranged and interpreted more effectively by linking in with neurology services in imaging and genetics; diagnoses to be given with more confidence and with better access to post-diagnostic support and management of complications related to dementia including behavioural and psychological symptoms, seizures and Parkinsonism.

This joint clinic has led to more general improvement in collaboration between services, allowing queries about patients and from patients to be discussed in a timelier manner. Patients gain a better experience requiring fewer appointments and avoiding unnecessary investigations which may cause delays.

Access and interpretation of diagnostic tests can be difficult in standard memory clinics and this too has been improved by joint working. Similarly, access to post-diagnostic support and carer support is typically limited in standard neurology services and our approach has led to an improvement.

During the webinar we showcased the service and considered ways in which this model may help others. Lorraine, a family member will offered a personal perspective of the service.

View the PowerPoint slides from the webinar here.