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Following the appearance on the market of medicines which slow down, even if only very partially, the effects of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, memory clinics or memory consultations have developed all over the world, including in Valais Hospital, with the aim of providing better diagnosis and more holistic care, tailored to the specific situation of the patient and of his/her next of kin.
For the Valais romand region, Valais Hospital has been equipped since the end of 2011 with a Multidisciplinary Memory Clinic based in Sierre, which has resulted from the merger of the neurology consultation service in Sion and the geriatric department in Sierre and in the Saint-Amé Clinic in Saint-Maurice. In the Haut-Valais region, the Memory Clinic has been based in Brig, in the Centre Psychiatrique du Haut-Valais, since 2005. The Clinic is part of the Geriatric Psychiatry Department.
This multidisciplinary clinic offers consultations on memory and on the effects of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. It can rely on the cooperation of a neurologist, a geriatrician, a neuropsychologist, a psychogeriatrician and social workers from Pro Senectute. Nor should we forget the help provided through neuroradiology and nuclear medicine. This enables us to draw up a holistic diagnosis and support plan for caring for the patient, in cooperation with referring doctors, but also to organise support for their next of kin. The aim is to avoid crisis situations, to anticipate any measures that need to be taken, to manage patients in a coordinated manner together with the referring doctors in order to keep the patient at home for as long as possible with the help of medico-social centres (CMS) and day centres, as well as to offer interventions in the form of specialised consultations for hospitalised patients or sometimes also in medico-social establishments (EMS).
The advantage of carrying out an early diagnosis is that it enables us to provide medicinal treatment, but also to advise the families. Important decisions may depend on this. In the case of diseases like cancer, everybody knows that it is best to identify them as early as possible. This is also true of Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, and will become ever more so as treatment methods improve.