Information For Patients 

How can a neuropsychological assessment help me?

If you are worried about changes in your cognitive functioning, or that of a family member or friend, a neuropsychological assessment can be useful to assess whether there is an underlying cause for the change, and/or whether there has been a decline in cognitive functioning (e.g. memory). If there has been a decline, it can help determine if this is consistent with normal aging or not (i.e. whether there is any evidence of early-stage dementia). A neuropsychological assessment can provide information to guide diagnosis by your medical practitioner, early interventions, and assist with providing strategies to help manage any difficulties identified on testing.

If you have suffered a stroke or sustained a traumatic brain injury (e.g. in an accident), a neuropsychological assessment can help identify difficulties in your cognitive functioning that can impact your ability to return to driving, work, and/or study. An assessment can determine whether it is appropriate for you to return to these activities or not. If so, tailored strategies, based on your cognitive profile, can be provided to help you better manage your return to work/study.

Do I need a referral to make an appointment?

We recommend seeking a referral from your GP or another medical specialist (e.g. neurologist, rehabilitation specialist). First, it is crucial to discuss your circumstances with a medical professional who can then advise whether a neuropsychological assessment would be appropriate for your particular case. Referrals from other Allied Health professionals (e.g. clinical psychologists, occupational therapists), rehabilitation providers and schools are also accepted. However, if you do not have a referral but are considering whether you (or a family member) would benefit from a neuropsychological assessment, please contact Dr Arguedas to discuss whether a medical referral is necessary.

** If there are any pending legal matters, this must be disclosed to Dr Arguedas before the assessment appointment since the extent and costs of clinical assessments vs. medicolegal assessments differ substantially. The cost of the assessment, therefore, needs to be quoted accordingly. An assessment conducted for clinical purposes is insufficient to use for medicolegal matters, as stipulated on the formal report of clinical assessments.**

Medicolegal clients should consult with their solicitor to determine the suitability of undertaking a neuropsychological assessment. We require a letter of instruction from your solicitor before making an appointment.

What is involved in a neuropsychological assessment?

A neuropsychological assessment usually involves an interview to discuss your medical history and other relevant background information – it is also useful for Dr Arguedas to talk to a family member or close friend, to obtain their perspective on your difficulties/cognitive changes. Following this, we will give you several tasks. Most will be pen and paper tasks, but we may provide some on a computer. These tasks examine various aspects of thinking, such as memory, attention, and problem-solving. You will find some of the tasks easy, but others more challenging. You will also receive some questionnaires to complete. The assessment’s duration varies, depending on the depth of assessment needed to address the reason for referral, but generally, an assessment will take between 3-5 hours. This timeframe includes a short break.

If the assessment is for non-medicolegal purposes, we will arrange an additional appointment (approximately two weeks after the assessment) to provide you with feedback on the assessment results.

Can I bring someone with me into the assessment?

A family member, friend, or support worker can be present during the assessment’s interview component. However, to ensure the validity of objective testing, only the person undergoing assessment and Dr Arguedas are permitted to be present during the testing component of the assessment.

How can I prepare for a scheduled neuropsychological appointment?

Neuropsychological assessments involve tests that examine various thinking skills. They are mentally demanding, so it is essential that you have a clear mind and are alert. Therefore, it is imperative that you have a good night’s sleep and substantial breakfast before attending your assessment. We recommend you avoid physically or mentally draining activities just before the testing session. As neuropsychological assessments take several hours to complete, we recommend avoiding scheduling any important activities following the assessment, as you are likely to feel very fatigued.

Abstinence from alcohol consumption and/or illicit drug use is also necessary before the assessment since these impact test performance. Please contact Dr Arguedas if refraining from taking these substances may be an issue for you. It is, however, vital that you continue to take medication as prescribed by your medical practitioner.

Please bring the following items to the session:

Reading glasses (if applicable)

Hearing aid (if applicable)

A medical referral (if the referrer has not already sent one on your behalf)

A list of all medications that you are currently taking

Copy of any recent reports you may have from health professionals (e.g. neurologists, psychiatrists, hospital discharge summary, etc.)

Copy of any brain scan reports (CT/MRI)

Details of any previous neuropsychological assessments you have completed (e.g. who conducted the assessment, where and when)

Copies of school reports (for children undergoing testing)

Given the duration of testing, we recommend bringing a bottle of water along and eating in the break

It helps to bring along a spouse or close family member for the interview part of the session

Are neuropsychological assessments covered by Medicare or Private Health Funds?

Neuropsychology assessments are not covered by Medicare. However, some private health funds do offer rebates. If you have private health cover, you should enquire directly to your insurer about whether a rebate for a neuropsychological assessment is available under your personal health care plan. It would be best if you did this before your scheduled appointment. You will need to claim any available rebates directly from your health fund.

In cases where the injury relates to an insurance claim, we recommend you contact the insurance company involved to determine whether the company covers the assessment cost. Dr Arguedas requires written approval from the insurer before your appointment.

The Department of Veteran Affairs also offers a substantial fee rebate to members. If you are a member of the Department of Veteran Affairs, please inform Dr Arguedas when booking your appointment.

How do I cancel an appointment?

If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please call 0434 025 160 as soon as possible. Please refer to the services page for details regarding late cancellation/no-show fees.

Payment

We require full payment at the time of assessment. We accept cash, credit card or direct deposit.