Development of memory clinics in the Netherlands over the last 20 years

Angelique A. A. Gruters*, Inez H. G. B. Ramakers, Roy P. C. Kessels, Femke H. Bouwman, Marcel G. M. Olde Rikkert, Marco M. Blom, Marjolein E. de Vugt, Frans R. J. Verhey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives Memory clinics (MCs) have been established to improve diagnosis and treatment of cognitive disorders, including dementia. The aim of this study was to determine the characteristics and working methods of MCs in the Netherlands in 2016. More insight into different working methods can be used to improve the quality of care in Dutch MCs. Additionally, the findings will be compared with earlier results to investigate the development of MCs since 1998. Methods A survey was sent in 1998, 2004, 2009, and 2017 to all operational Dutch MCs with questions about organization, collaboration, patients, and diagnostic procedures. Results From 1998 to 2016, the number of MCs increased substantially from 12 to 91. The capacity increased from 1560 patients to 24,388. In 1998, most patients received a dementia diagnosis (85%), while in 2016, half of the patients were diagnosed with milder cognitive problems. MCs are more often part of regional care chains and are better embedded within regional care organizations. Diagnostic tools, such as blood tests (97%), neuropsychological assessment (NPA) (95%), and neuroimaging (92%), were used in nearly all MCs. The number of patients in whom these tools were used differed greatly between MCs (NPA: 5%-100%, neuroimaging: 10%-100%, and CSF: 0.5%-80%). There was an increase in the use of NPA, while the use of neuroimaging, CSF, and EEG/ECG decreased by 8% to 15% since 2009. Conclusions Since 1998, MCs have developed substantially and outgrown the primarily research-based university settings. They are now accepted as regular care facilities for people with cognitive problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1267-1274
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • diagnosis and classification
  • dementia
  • memory clinics
  • services
  • mild cognitive impairment (MCI)


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