What should I do before a neuropsychological assessment?
It is understandable to feel somewhat nervous about a neuropsychological assessment, especially if you have not participated in one before. Neuropsychological assessment essentially comprises a series of verbal and non-verbal puzzles, some of which you will find quite straightforward while others will be more challenging.
We all possess relative strengths and weaknesses; neuropsychological testing is designed to assess where these lie for you.
If you try to adopt good ‘sleep hygiene’ it is hoped this will enable you to rest well the night before the assessment. (See: https://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/sleep-hygiene)
Please also try to avoid alcohol or illicit drugs for at least 3 days prior to the assessment.
Continue to take medications prescribed by your doctor; please bring details of these to the appointment.
What will I be required to do?
After obtaining your consent, Professor Foster will next provide an overview of the interview and assessment and its goals. He will then ask you a series of questions to obtain background information (for example, concerning any recent events, your current status, and your work and medical history). With your permission, he will also speak with a family member or friend (if they attend with you, and if you and they are happy for this to occur).
The assessment will involve paper and pencil type and/or computer-based tests, questionnaires and more practical tests. The tests used are standardised (i.e. they have previously been given to a sample of people without brain impairment to provide a comparison) and well researched. Testing is not physically invasive. Generally, assessments take between 3 and 5 hours (including interview and rest breaks), depending on the purpose of the assessment.
What should I bring to the assessment?
You should bring:
Reading glasses (if necessary);
Any discharge summaries related to recent hospitalisations;
A written summary of the medications that you are currently taking;
Any reports from Neurologists, Radiologists, Surgeons, Psychiatrists, General Medical Practitioners or Psychologists you may have received;
A referral from your General Medical Practitioner/Family Doctor (if available) outlining your medical history;
Diaries or other documents that you have kept with respect to any cognitive or behavioural issues you have been experiencing.
Where should I attend?
When an appointment has been confirmed an your have provided your contact details, you will be sent details with including location information (depending on which of Professor Foster’s rooms you are attending).
In order to limit the burden on our planet’s finite resources, we prefer to communicate with you via email so please send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have not already provided this information.
How much does the assessment cost?
Unfortunately, private neuropsychological assessments are quite expensive (reflecting the expertise of the neuropsychologist, the extensive training they have received and the costs of the materials they use), and not covered by Medicare or most private health funds.
The cost varies depending on the type of assessment, especially whether it is clinical or medicolegal (i.e. required for an insurance claim or for a tribunal/court case).
You will be informed of the price once the reason for the assessment and other details are established.
If there is an insurance company involved (i.e. if your injury is due to a work or car accident), please contact the case manager to confirm that they will pay for the assessment. If you are a DVA Gold card member, please notify us at the time of your booking or as soon as possible afterwards.
Can I claim any costs back from Medicare or my private health fund?
Unfortunately, Medicare does not currently cover the cost of neuropsychological assessments. If you have ‘extras’ cover, your private health fund may offer a partial refund on the cost of the assessment, but this varies and is likely to pay for only a relatively small proportion of your costs. Please contact your health fund to enquire further.
If you are a DVA Gold card member, you should talk to your DVA-appointed case manager about whether DVA will cover the cost of the consultation.