(L-R) Dr Tomo Hawakawa with Irene Bruce and Dr Thomas Monaghan
The Memory Clinic at St. James’s Hospital provides a specialised service for people with memory loss and dementia. Clinic visits are wearing and anxious times for patients and their families, and staff were very pleased recently to be able to purchase a new state-of-the-art flat screen television for the patient waiting room. The television was funded from general donations received.
Irene Bruce is the nurse manger responsible for the Memory Clinic and explained that assessment clinic visits take two hours, during which patients and accompanying family members see the nurses and doctors both together and separately. She described the waiting periods as very stressful times for people and said the television was such a beneficial addition: “Most patients and their families are apprehensive about their first visit to the clinic and watching TV can have a very calming effect on them while they pass the time. The first visit is the longest and waiting can be stressful on everybody, so the TV is a great distraction”.
The Memory Clinic offers assessment clinics, feedback clinics and a social work support service. As a tertiary referral centre, patients may be referred to the clinic from anywhere in the country by GPs or hospital doctors. The clinic is run as a service of Mercer’s Institute for Research on Ageing which is the research arm of the Medicine for the Elderly Department at St James’s.
The catchment area of St. James’s has an elderly population and the hospital has pioneered assessment and rehabilitation services for elderly people. Excellent clinical care for elderly patients is renowned and plans are now well-advanced for the development of a Centre of Excellence for Successful Ageing; the model centre will combine advanced services in the major area of geriatric medicine with specialist training and front-edge research. It will lead the way in establishing the new approaches to healthcare for elderly people, which will be necessary to confront the challenges that will come with longer life expectancy.
St. James’s Hospital Foundation
St. James’s Hospital
Telephone 01 428 4086