SWLSTG elderly care picA clinic is enabling people with Alzheimer’s disease in southwest London to get medical and social support in the same place thanks to a partnership between mental health professionals and third sector workers in the area.

The Merton Memory Clinic, run by South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust, has opened its doors to workers from the Alzheimer’s Society and local charity, Carers Support Merton (CSM), so patients can get medical and social support under one roof at one time.

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Dr Rajen Shah, consultant old age psychiatrist, said: "Patients and carers are now able to receive comprehensive information in one visit.

"The Memory Clinic has been running for many years and we came to realise that while we could help with patients’ healthcare needs, other agencies were better equipped to resolve and provide support with other issues. Patients and carers tell us that the convenience and speed of everything being in one place is very welcome."

Valuable opportunity to offer early intervention
The Merton Memory Clinic runs every Monday at Clare House St George’s Hospital in Tooting and is used by around 300 patients in the early to middle stages of dementia. It diagnoses and provides on-going care and treatment for people with memory problems and dementia referred by their GPs, who live in the London Borough of Merton.

There are some 1,800 people living with dementia in Merton but since October 2013 CSM has been able to register 49 new carers and continue to support 37 carers at the clinic, with a further 20 taking away information.

A spokeswoman for CSM said: “The Merton Memory Clinic has provided a valuable opportunity to offer early intervention, since many people don’t identify themselves as carers or know how to seek support. Thanks to the partnership, carers can receive practical help as well as opportunities for respite, therapeutic and social activities."