Memory Loss Consultations at BIDMC
Memory Clinic Checklist
The following will help you prepare for your first visit for a memory
evaluation at our Memory Clinic.
Before Your First Memory Loss Consultation
Your memory evaluation begins well before your actual visit to the Memory
Clinic. We will review all pertinent records, including:
Previous memory tests/evaluations performed by other clinicians
Laboratory or blood tests
Imaging studies such as CT scans and MRI
Information about medical problems that you are being
We request that you ask your physician's office to fax or mail us a copy of
your records a few weeks before your visit. Patients who receive their
medical care primarily from providers affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess
Medical Center may not need to forward their medical records, as these are
already available to us. If you are unsure as to which part of your medical
records to request, your primary care physician may be the best person to
During Your First Visit
We recognize you might be anxious about your memory evaluation. We hope
these tips and guidelines for what to expect at your first visit will help
make you feel more comfortable.
Arrive a few minutes before your scheduled visit to allow time to fill out
the required paperwork. You will be more at ease during the memory
evaluation if you are not rushing to get to the appointment.
Bring a relative or friend
It is best to have a relative (spouse, adult child, etc.) or a close friend
who is familiar with your history to accompany you to the visit.
Bring your medications
Because some medications are known to cause memory impairment, it is
essential that you bring all your most current medications including
over-the-counter and alternative medications in their bottles or bubble
packs to your appointment. This is better than a list, which can be
incomplete and have incorrect doses.
Medical and memory history
The evaluation begins by meeting with one of our memory specialists who
will obtain a comprehensive history regarding your memory problems as well
as your general state of health.
Your family member may be asked to join you for this portion of the
evaluation to help confirm or clarify certain parts of your history.
The doctor will then perform a set of cognitive tests that will identify
your mind's strengths and weaknesses. These tests are objective measures of
your current abilities and will serve as your baseline that can be used to
compare future performance. You are not expected to perform perfectly in
these tests, so do not feel bad if you miss certain questions.
Neurologic screening and physical examination
After the interview, the doctor will perform a neurologic screening and
physical examination to detect certain diseases that may cause or worsen
Social worker and community resources
If necessary, your family member may be asked to meet separately with a
social worker to obtain additional information and to provide you with
community resources such as support groups that may be helpful to you now
or in the future.
At the conclusion of the initial visit, the doctor may request certain
blood tests and imaging studies (CT scan, MRI and/or PET scan) and may also
refer you to a neuropsychologist to arrive at the most accurate diagnosis.
The decision to do further testing is made on a case-by-case basis. The
blood tests can be completed during your initial visit, but the imaging
studies and neuropsychologic evaluation will need to be scheduled for
Depending on your particular case and what additional tests might be
needed, you may be asked to return after all the tests have been completed.
During this follow-up visit, you will be given a summary of test results,
the diagnosis, and an outline of the treatment plan. A periodic visit for a
memory re-evaluation may then be advised to follow the improvement or
progression of the memory condition.
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For Referring Clinicians
We accept referrals for patients with memory loss and other cognitive
impairments. Your patient will be seen by our memory specialists who will
obtain a comprehensive history and perform cognitive tests, a neurologic
screening and physical examination. We offer practical strategies for
helping patients and families cope with cognitive disorders. We also have a
social worker who will meet separately with patients to help with coping
and/or caregiver support issues.
The memory evaluation is completed by blood tests (TSH, Vitamin B12
levels), a neuroimaging study (CT scan, MRI and/or PET scan), and a
referral to a neuropsychologist on a case-by-case basis. If any of these
tests have been performed recently on your patient, please forward us
copies as well as any previous memory tests (e.g. mini-mental state
examinations) you may have performed in the past.
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