What is the process of a diagnosis?

There are some medical conditions that can mimic dementia-like symptoms. The GP may want to rule out these first. He or she may undertake blood and urine tests to check whether there is an underlying cause. There is no single test for diagnosing dementia but the doctor is likely to ask the person about themselves, and talking to the person who has accompanied them to the appointment.

If you have been keeping notes of things that have been happening then it can be useful as it will enable the doctor to build a picture of the symptoms. The doctor will also look at the medical history and review any existing conditions or medications. This will help to identify whether there are other causes that need managing or treating first. The GP may also offer a simple ‘pen and paper’ test to be completed at the appointment.

In some cases, the GP may be able to diagnose dementia at this point – especially where symptoms may already be quite advanced. However, they will usually want to refer on to the memory service for further tests.

At the point of receiving a diagnosis, the person receiving the diagnosis and their family should be given information and advice on local services and support groups. In Suffolk, they should be given the details of Dementia Together. who can tailor support to people's needs.

If or when a diagnosis of dementia is made, treatments will be discussed.

You'll find details of local support services on this website, click here