Should I bring my glasses or hearing aid to the appointment?
If you wear spectacles for reading it is important that you bring them with you. Likewise, if you need to wear a hearing aid to hear people talking, please bring this with you.
Is there anything else I should bring?
If you have had a previous psychological or neuropsychological assessment, it would be helpful if you could bring along the results/report.
I’m worried about my memory, should I be worried?
Worries about memory are quite common. Problems with memory can arise for a whole host of reasons, including stress. A neuropsychological assessment can help to clarify things. The assessment itself will involve a measurement of your memory ability, along with other abilities. This can help to make clear whether memory function is as expected. If it is not at the expected level there will be further investigation of the possible reasons for this.
Will a neuropsychological assessment hurt, involve injections or other procedures?
Neuropsychological assessments are not painful and do not involve any medical procedures. In a typical assessment there would be an interview by a psychologist who will ask questions about the problems you are having. Then you will be asked to undertake some tasks which involve doing things like remembering a list of words and solving puzzles.
You may also be asked to complete some questionnaires that ask about how you are feeling emotionally. Whilst assessments are not painful or unpleasant they can be quite tiring as they require concentration and effort. You will, however, be given ample opportunity for rest or breaks should you become tired. If you find that you are unable to complete the assessment in one session further sessions will be arranged.
How long will it take?
A neuropsychological assessment takes between two – five hours typically and does require a lot of concentration and effort. The reason it takes a long time is because there is a lot that the brain can do and we want to ensure we have given you every opportunity to demonstrate what abilities you have and what things are a problem for you. You do not however have to do the whole assessment in one go. There is opportunity to have breaks and take rests should you find it tiring.
What happens after I have completed the assessment?
The results of the neuropsychological assessment are typically described in a report that goes to the referring doctor and any other professionals involved in your care. Often, but not always, the report is also copied to you. When this does not happen it is because it would be more helpful for the referring doctor to describe the neuropsychological assessment results to you together with other test results and clinical information. In this way, the referring doctor can formulate a diagnosis or plan with you.
Often you will be invited back to go over the results of your assessment, their implications and any potential ways forward to improve things. Sometimes this will involve further appointments for rehabilitation / therapy as appropriate.
What happens if my assessment suggests that there is something seriously wrong?
Neuropsychological assessments are undertaken for many reasons. Sometimes the reason is to help your medical doctor to make a diagnosis in relation to your difficulties. Sometimes of course such a diagnosis may indicate a serious medical problem. In this event your medical doctor will explain the diagnosis to you and your treatment options.
Sometimes the results of an assessment indicate significant cognitive problems that could affect your ability to drive safely, manage work, live independently or look after others. In this situation the neuropsychologist or referring doctor will discuss these issues with you and what support might be available.
Will my interactions with neuropsychology be confidential?
The records of your interactions with neuropsychology are confidential in line with trust policy.