Can Memory Assessment Services (MAS) in England be categorized? A national survey
The effectiveness and efficiency of memory assessment services (MASs) is unknown. Our aim was to determine if a typology can be constructed, based on shared structural and process characteristics, as a basis for a non-randomized evaluation of their effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.Methods
Survey of random sample of 73 MASs in 2015; comparison of characteristics and investigation of inter-correlation.Results
It was not possible to group characteristics to form the basis of a typology of MASs. However, there was considerable variation in staff numbers (20-fold), new patients per whole-time equivalent (WTE) staff (20-fold), skill mix and the nurse:doctor ratio (1-10).Results
The operational performance also varied: first appointments (50-120 minutes); time for first follow-up (2-12 weeks); frequency of follow-up in first year (1-5). These differences were not associated with the number of new patients per WTE staff or the accreditation status of the MAS.Results
Post diagnosis, all MASs provided pharmacological treatment but the availability of non-pharmacological support varied, with half providing none or only one intervention while others providing four or more.Conclusions
In the absence of any clear typology, evaluation of MASs will need to focus on the impact of individual structural and process characteristics on outcomes.