Somerset Memory Assessment Service

Our Memory Assessment Services are based across the county of Somerset and provide assessment, diagnosis, initial treatment, information and support to you and your family if you are developing a form of dementia.

We are open 9am -5pm Monday to Friday except Bank holidays.

If you are concerned about your Memory, visit your GP, they will carry out a physical examination, take blood tests and may organize other investigations. The impact of a Dementia diagnosis on such things as driving may be discussed. They will ask you to consent to the referral.

The GP will send the referral to your local Memory services.

Once the referral has been received by the Older Persons Mental Health team, it will be checked for relevant information, such as the history of your problem, your medical conditions, medications, and the results of any investigations.

This is usually followed by a phone call to you, and with your permission, your relative or your carer to get more information about your symptoms and to make sure that you are happy to go ahead with an assessment.

Once all the relevant information has been gathered a discussion will take place in the Memory Assessment Service (MAS) team, to make sure we are the most suitable service to meet your needs.

We are unable to assess your memory if

  • you have had a Stroke, CVA in the last 12 months.
  • you have had an infection or delirium in the last 3 months.
  • you have undergone surgery under general anaesthetic, in the last 3 months.

If you are drinking more than 14 units of Alcohol a week, we would give you advise on reducing this before we complete a memory assessment.

Memory Assessment Service (MAS)

Every function, movement, thought, emotion, and perception, whether consciously or subconsciously, originate in our brain.

Different parts of our brains are responsible for different functions such as movement, emotions, senses, social skills, words and language, problem solving and planning complex activities.

As part of your MAS assessment the team will assess these different brain areas.


The MAS team will Take a detailed history of your symptoms and any relevant family history and ask about your likes, dislikes, and personality, so that your care can be ‘centered specifically around you’.

Review your personal life history, medical problems, medications and conduct some mental testing.

It will then be decided whether you will need any further investigations, such as a more detailed neuropsychological assessment, a brain scan, or an Occupational Therapy assessment to look at your ability to manage everyday tasks (such as cooking, laundry etc.)


The MAS team will discuss the outcome of your assessment and investigations and will normally reach a diagnosis of your problem and draw up a personal management plan.

This will be fed back to you and your family or carer by a specialist Memory Nurse, the MAS team Doctor, a Neuropsychologist or Clinical Psychologist.

If it has been decided that medication will help with your type of dementia this will be prescribed and given to you by a member of the MAS team.

Post diagnostic support

When a diagnosis has been made a member of the team will contact you to provide further support and advice about local services, research, and relevant support groups you could attend. The memory service Runs Therapeutic Groups – Living well with dementia, and Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST). Referral for friends and family to Carer support service.

Once an agreed care plan that meets that your needs is completed, the MAS team will write to your GP, and send you a copy, giving the details of the assessment and its outcome, the ongoing management required from both primary care (your doctor’s surgery and community services) and if relevant secondary care (the hospital or any specialists), including any follow up arrangements.

What can help

Leading an active lifestyle has a significant impact on both physical and mental wellbeing and can improve the quality of life for people with all stages of dementia.

Doing the things, you like to do and enjoying life, are very important, along with, taking medication as prescribed. It is vitally important to eat a healthy and varied diet to ensure all necessary proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals are available for the body to use to maintain health.

It is important to drink sufficient fluids to make sure that your body functions well.

If we stop practising something for long enough our ability to perform that skill reduces. ‘Use it or lose it’ applies to how well the brain works. It is important to exercise your brain by practising tasks and keeping your brain active. The more challenging the task, within reason, the better the exercise your brain will receive.

Keeping socially active is vitally important for brain health, continue to maintain links and contact with friends, family, and social groups, as much as possible.