FAQ for Clients
A neuropsychological assessment usually involves an initial interview, where we will discuss your medical history and other background information (such as your education and occupational achievements). This interview also involves discussing any current concerns you or your loved one have about your memory or thinking, as well as your mood, or other issues that may be impacting on your day-to-day functioning.
Following this, you will be given a number of standardised tests that examine different areas of your thinking skills, such as your memory, language, and attention. These tests are specifically chosen to assess your referral question. For some of these, you will be asked to answer questions verbally. For others, you will be asked to write or draw the answers. You will find some of these tasks easier than others – everyone does. Finally, you and your loved one will also be given several questionnaires to complete.
Once the assessment is completed, your results are analysed and interpreted in the context of the information gathered during the interview and the specific referral question. Each test score is compared to other people of your age, and can be judged on how we predicted you would have best performed the tests (eg before you noticed changes, before the injury to your brain etc).
A comprehensive report will then be provided to your referring clinician. This will detail your neuropsychological profile, the likely consequences of any difficulties in daily life, and recommendations for managing these difficulties. This report will usually be sent to your referrer within one to two weeks. This can, however, vary depending on whether all the necessary information about your case has been obtained.
The length of your appointment will vary depending on the specific referral question. However, most comprehensive neuropsychological assessments take approximately 3-4 hours. You will be provided with several rest breaks, and if necessary can be completed over more than one session.
Because the neuropsychological assessment involves tests that examine various thinking skills, please try and ensure you are in the best mental state as possible. Prior to the day of the assessment, please ensure you get a good night’s rest. It is also recommended that you avoid physically or mentally draining activities just prior to the session; and avoid the consumption of alcohol and/or use of illicit substances. It is important that you continue to take your normal medications as prescribed by your doctor. However, if you are currently taking any opiate-based pain medications, please let us know when you arrive as this may impact on your attention and concentration.
As the assessment takes a number of hours to complete, it is also advisable that you do no schedule other important activities too close to the beginning or end of your appointment.
Please bring the following to your appointment:
- Reading glasses and/or hearing aids (if applicable)
- Something to eat and drink for during a break
- A list of all medications that you currently take
- Any recent reports or test results you have from health professionals that would be relevant to the neuropsychological assessment(for example, letters from specialists, discharge summaries, reports of any brain scan etc)
- Please also bring along photo identification if possible.
We encourage you to bring a family member or friend to the appointment. While they cannot stay for the testing, it is very useful for them to be able to provide details and information during the interview. We will also likely ask them to fill in some questionnaires.
Dr James covers the whole South West region of Western Australia. While based in Busselton, appointments can be arranged in alternate locations. Please call to discuss and include this information on the referral form.
It is usually recommended that you obtain a referral from your doctor or other medical specialist. This is so you can discuss your concerns with them to determine if a neuropsychological assessment would be appropriate in your situation.
If you do not have any specific current concerns regarding your memory or thinking, but want to obtain a baseline neuropsychological assessment, please contact us directly to self-refer.
Clients who require a neuropsychological assessment as part of a medico-legal case should consult with their legal team to initiate the referral.
As with all medical and health professionals, privacy and confidentiality is vital.Your neuropsychological assessment results (and anything we discuss) will remain confidential, and will not be released to anyone without your consent.
However, all clinicians are required, by law, to disclose information ifthere are concerns about your safety or the safety of others. You will be given information about privacy when you book the appointment, and Dr James will be happy to discuss any concerns you have.
Following the completion of the assessment, a comprehensive report will be provided to your referring clinician. This will detail your neuropsychological profile, the likely consequences of any difficulties in daily life, and recommendations for managing these difficulties. This report will usually be sent to your referrer within one to two weeks. This can, however, vary depending on whether all the necessary information about your case has been obtained.
A follow-up verbal feedback session with yourself (and loved ones) will also be offered, where your results will be explained in a way that is easy to understand*. This feedback session provides you and your loved ones with an opportunity to better understand the nature of your cognitive difficulties. We will discuss how your cognitive difficulties may impact on your daily living (such as return to work, study, driving, domestic activities), and how you can utilise strategies to minimise their impact.
*Please note that if you have been referred as part of a forensic, medico-legal or compensation process, you will need to seek further information regarding the nature of the assessment and any obtained outcomes from the referring agent or your legal counsel.
The total cost of a neuropsychological assessment varies depending on the referral questions and the complexity of the case. Comprehensive assessments typically require a total of eight to ten hours to complete (assessment, scoring and interpretation, and report writing).
Our hourly fees are based on the recommended rates for psychological services within Australia, which are set and reviewed regularly by the Australian Psychological Society. We will discuss fees with each client prior to booking the assessment, and provide an accurate estimate of the total cost at the time of referral.
Currently, neuropsychological assessments are not covered by Medicare. Some private health funds may offer a part-rebate. Please check with your private health fund to determine eligibility for reimbursement.
If your neuropsychological assessment related to an insurance claim, please contact your insurance company to determine whether the cost of the assessment will be covered by them.
Clinical Neuropsychologists are experts in the assessment, diagnosis and management of known or suspected neurological (brain) conditions, and also on the impact of psychological conditions on brain functioning. We have specialist training in understanding the structure and function of the brain, as well as in the standardised administration and interpretation of complex neuropsychological test results.
Clinical Psychologists are experts in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of psychological difficulties and mental disorders (such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder).
Psychologists are more generally trained in psychology. They offer clinical services in a range of psychological conditions (usually on the less severe end of the spectrum). They do not go through the same rigorous training regimes that either Clinical Neuropsychologists or Clinical Psychologists undertake. As such, they do not receive endorsement in a specialist area by the Psychology Board of Australia.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
South West Neuropsychology
0415 955 453