Dr. Kerrie Luck and Dr. Shelley Doucet
Centre for Research in Integrated Care, University of New Brunswick
The number of individuals with dementia is predicted to reach 132 million by 2050. The need for early diagnosis and access to post-diagnostic care places a burden on our current healthcare systems. Nurse-led memory clinics (NLMCs) offer a model to help address this growing need. A rapid review was conducted to systematically explore the structures, functions, and outcomes of NLMCs, as well as the nursing roles and credentials of nurses leading memory clinics. MEDLINE (Ovid), CINAHL Full-Text (EBSCO), and EMBASE were searched and the PRISMA checklist was used to facilitate the review. Articles identified were screened and assessed for inclusion criteria and a lateral review was also completed. Six articles, including two case studies, two descriptive reports, one qualitative study and one program evaluation were included. We compared the structures, functions, and outcomes of nurse-led memory clinics, as well as the nursing roles and credentials of nurses leading memory clinics. Overall, there was low quantity and quality of evidence to evaluate outcomes. The main conclusions from each article suggest NLMCs are an effective service delivery model to improve access to dementia diagnosis and treatment; offer quality care and reliable diagnosis; and have high levels of stakeholder satisfaction. This review provides insight into how NLMCs are structured and how they function, which can inform practice. The paucity of peer-reviewed literature makes it difficult to come to any firm conclusions; however, the trends suggest these clinics could be an innovative solution to enhancing dementia care, warranting further exploration.