Neuropsychology is a specialist area of psychology concerned with cognitive functioning. A neuropsychological assessment provides a comprehensive profile of an individual’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses. A neuropsychological assessment takes 3 – 4 hours and includes tests of attention, language, learning and memory, visuo-spatial functioning, speed of information processing, intellectual functioning, and high-level executive functioning. Neuropsychological assessments are done by Dr Melanie Tokley and you must be referred by your GP or neurologists. For more information contact us or see our post on neuropsychological assessment.
Diagnostic and rehabilitative Clinical Neuropsychological services are available at Rose Park Psychology and Westbourne Park Psychology. Clinical neuropsychology is a branch of psychology concerned with brain-behaviour relationships and the detection and treatment of cognitive impairment or decline. Clinical Neuropsychologists use targeted, sensitive neurocognitive tests to measure domains of cognitive functioning including attention, memory, language, visuo-spatial functioning, speed of information processing and the executive functions to support in the diagnosis and treatment planning for patients with acute or long-term neurological conditions. Clinical neuropsychologists are also experienced in emotional adjustment and mood management therapies for patients with new-onset or chronic neurological illness, their families and carers.
Below are examples of how clinical neuropsychology can support patients with the following neurological conditions:
- Differential diagnosis between presentations of emotional distress and dementia (dementia can typically present as depression) so as not to delay accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment
- Differential diagnosis of dementia subtypes
- Strategies to improve orientation, attention and memory functioning in day-to-day life
- Practical (i.e., strategy provision) and emotional support for carers
- Assessment of mental capacity
- Assessment to disconfirm diagnosis of dementia (this can be a powerful intervention for the ‘worried well’)
- Detailed cognitive profiling to understand the effects of MS on an individual’s cognitive functioning to support strategies for independent living and vocational rehabilitation
- Support for symptom management and emotional adjustment following relapse
- Comprehensive neuropsychological assessment which can form a baseline from which further cognitive changes can be sensitively measured to support ongoing management of disease progression
- Support for symptom and disability management including fatigue management
Stroke and TIA
- Detailed assessment of cognitive strengths and weaknesses to inform cognitive remediation or compensatory rehabilitation approaches as required
- Rehabilitation of cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and high level thinking skills such as planning and decision making
- Teaching compensatory strategies to improve day-to-day functioning (e.g., the effective use of memory aids)
- Intensive support to make lifestyle changes and achieve behavioural goals to improve vascular health
- Emotional adjustment counselling to facilitate patient’s mental wellbeing and integrate the experience of sudden and significant change into their life
Post-concussion syndrome and mild traumatic brain injury
If left untreated, post-concussion syndrome can leave patients vulnerable to depression as they struggle to understand and manage their post-concussive symptoms. Early neuropsychological intervention is recommended to help patients manage their recovery, expectations about recovery, and prevent secondary problems such as reactive depression or emotional adjustment disorders.
- Psychoeducation and bespoke symptom management strategies to optimise brain recovery
- Cognitive assessment to determine residual cognitive sequelae and provide recommendations for recovery
- Support to manage cognitive change in the context of work and social roles
- Support for graded return to vocational roles and other activities
Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury
- Initial neuropsychological assessment to determine targeted areas for cognitive rehabilitation to support patient’s to understand the effects of their injury
- Cognitive rehabilitation to address deficits in attention, memory, language, and visuo-spatial functioning
- Cognitive and behavioural interventions to manage dysexecutive syndrome
- Repeat neuropsychological assessments to track recovery and progress and modify rehabilitative goals and treatment plans as required
- Psychological interventions to support community reintegration
- Specialised vocational rehabilitation to support return-to-work
Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease and other Movement Disorders
- Cognitive characterisation (through neuropsychological assessment) to detect and monitor changes in cognitive functioning, personality, and psychiatric symptomatology
- Feedback of neuropsychological test results to support patients and families to plan for the future
- Bespoke recommendations for environmental modification to support independence
- Differentiation of organic and non-organic symptoms to determine appropriate treatment approaches
Functional Neurological Syndrome Disorder (including Functional Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder and Functional Movement Disorders)
- Assessment to confirm/disconfirm the presence of cognitive change to support accurate diagnosis
- Psychological interventions to build strategies to support patients to self-manage their symptoms
- Psychoeducation and awareness building to help patients understand their condition
Treatment Time and Costs
- A comprehensive neuropsychological assessment typically takes 3 – 4 hours. This comprises a full clinical interview (approx. 45 minutes), cognitive testing (1.5 – 2.5 hours) and the provision of detailed feedback regarding the results of the assessment (1 hour).
- A neuropsychological assessment can take place in one long appointment (with scheduled breaks as required), or spread over 1 – 2 weeks.
- Neuropsychological assessment feedback sessions typically occur on a separate occasion within one week of the assessment session(s). Patients are encouraged to bring family members or carers to the feedback session.
- More targeted cognitive assessments can be completed in 1 – 2 hours.
- A neuropsychological report detailing the results of the assessment and any strategies or treatment recommendations to optimise cognitive functioning is provided following the assessment.
- Cognitive rehabilitation treatment programmes are devised based on the outcome of the neuropsychological assessment, and are bespoke to each patient.
- The cost of neuropsychological assessment is not currently covered under Medicare. Rebates can be available through some private health insurers, in limited instances. If the neurological injury relates to an insurance claim, the cost may be covered by the insurer, but should be discussed directly with the insurance company prior to making an appointment.
- Neuropsychological assessment and treatment is billed at $2200 which includes all session and the final report.
For referrals, please contact Rose Park Psychology on:
p: 08 8333 0940
Dr Melanie Tokley