Neuropsychological Assessments

Following either injury or illness affecting the brain, people usually find that their ability to carry out certain tasks as they used to has changed. Some changes include:

These are called cognitive functions, or cognition. Neuropsychological assessments are designed to examine the way cognition has changed following brain insult. Psychologists can look at your performance on different types of tests and measure your ability against the thousands of other people who have taken the same tests. This allows us to understand how well you carry out each task compared to others, and lets us see your strengths, as well as your changes following injury. These changes usually relate to the area of the brain that has been injured and lets you, your family, and other professionals know where the area of damage is, even if brain scans don’t show changes.

The results of these assessments suggest strategies that may make it easier to get things done. We can suggest other ways of managing tasks if a certain function has been affected by injury. This may help to reduce frustration, and the worry for you and your family.

The assessment usually takes about three hours, with breaks in between as needed. People usually find the assessments really interesting, though mentally challenging. It is best to have a good night’s sleep before the assessment so that you can concentrate as well as possible on the day.

Once I have spent some time scoring the assessment and analysing the results, we will arrange for feedback about what the results mean, and discuss the strategies we have identified from the results.  The feedback session can involve family and others who you feel would benefit from knowing the results. I will write a full report to send to your doctor and other treating professionals, and I’ll write a one or two page summary for you to refer to.

Because the results are quite technical in nature, they are confidential, and only shared with doctors or other psychologists who you give your permission for me to speak to. If you have a lawyer, he or she may also request a copy. You, your family, or relevant others can always call and ask questions about the report if needs be.

If you have questions about the process behind a neuropsychological assessment, please contact your doctor, case manager, or me.

Dr Jim Huntley