How Deos the Memory Center Work?

Patients evaluated at the Center for Comprehensive Care and Research on Memory Disorders will be seen separately by several team members in order to clearly understand the full scope of the memory problem and how it affects both the patient and the family. In general, a neurologist or geriatrician will be designated as the primary physician, guiding patients throughout their care.

Additionally, the patient will see a neuropsychologist to specifically test memory function, a nurse to evaluate how well the patient is functioning at home, and a social worker to assess the needs of the family. A small number of blood tests will be performed at the Center, and if needed, an imaging study using high resolution brain scans will be performed at the main campus of The University of Chicago Hospitals. The entire evaluation process generally takes two clinic visits.

Following the evaluation, the team members meet to determine the most accurate diagnosis.

After the comprehensive evaluation is completed, the Center team will develop an individually tailored care plan for each patient and family. The diagnosis is usually given at a third "Family Conference" visit where the patient may bring the family to get the care plan information and ask questions. The diagnosis and care plan is summarized in a report and sent to patients, families, and physicians who refer patients to the Center. The care plan helps guide the ongoing care of the patient over the long-term course of the memory disorder.

The team is available, after the diagnosis is given, to assist with problems that may develop between follow-up clinic visits. The nurse and social worker are available to answer any questions the family has about the patient and will discuss these issues with the physician caring for the patient where necessary.