Neuropsychological Assessment and Intervention Services (NPAIS)
arbias has provided specialised neuropsychological services since our establishment in 1990. arbias has always placed a strong emphasis on the importance of an accurate diagnosis of ABI. It is equally important to identify how an ABI is impacting on a person's thinking, behaviour and personality. Neuropsychological assessment makes it possible to better understand a person and then to work effectively with them towards achievement of their goals.
Neuropsychologists deliver assessment and intervention services at arbias. They are heavily involved in the development and delivery of arbias training. The NPAIS has a growing investment in research activities. The service is also strongly committed to the education of future clinicians and provides supervised clinical placements as well as research opportunities to postgraduate neuropsychology students. These links with trainee neuropsychologists and the universities helps to maintain a high quality of service delivery within NPAIS.
+ What is a Neuropsychological Assessment?
Neuropsychologists have specialist training in how the brain works and how it controls behaviour, thinking and personality. A neuropsychological assessment includes an interview, followed by a range of tasks designed to test specific areas of thinking such as memory, attention, concentration, learning, planning and problem solving, the ability to make decisions and to subsequently carry them through. The assessment includes completion of an interview, answering questions, paper and pencil tasks, puzzles and tests of memory.
A neuropsychological assessment usually takes two-and-a half to three hours to complete. Breaks are taken during the session and the pace can be varied to suit the individual.
After the completion of the assessment, the neuropsychologist will evaluate the results, taking into consideration the person's age, background, history and reason for referral. A report is written that outlines the findings of the assessment, plus recommendations for actions & strategies that will benefit the person. These results may then be discussed at another time during a 'feedback session' with the person and the original referrer and/or those people supporting the person.
More detailed information about neuropsychological assessments can be found in the arbias Guide to Neuropsychological Assessment for Clients and Family Members (Download Adobe PDF 385kb).
In addition to Neuropsychological Assessments, the NPAIS provides Neurobehavioural Assessments and Intervention services. These services can assist to get a better understanding of what is triggering or underlying behaviours of concern or everyday cognitive failures. The neuropsychologist can work with the person and their support network to introduce specialised strategies aimed at enhancing the person's ability to achieve their goals.
+ How can you refer for NPAIS services?
arbias is a specialist ABI service provider with well established expertise in alcohol and substance related brain injury. Importantly, the NPAIS accepts referrals for people with any cause of ABI.
For example, neuropsychological assessment may be considered when there is:
- An identified brain injury, for example following a motor vehicle accident, fall, sports injury, or industrial accident;
- A known neurological disorder, e.g. stroke, meningitis, brain tumour, epilepsy;
- A history of alcohol or other substance abuse (e.g. opiates, marijuana, solvents – glue or petrol sniffing), including abuse of prescribed medications (e.g. benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax);
- A history of hypoxic brain injury (due to an interruption of oxygen supply to the brain). Hypoxia may occur as a result of overdoses, hanging/asphyxiation, following severe blood loss, cardiac arrest, or carbon monoxide poisoning, etc.;
- A history of exposure to toxic chemicals;
- No reported previous brain injury, but the person's behaviour is suggestive of some degree of cognitive injury – e.g. memory problems, difficulty following a series of instructions, problems with planning and organising, etc.
NPAIS assessments are primarily provided to adults within the age range of 18 to 65. Most assessments are conducted at the arbias offices in Brunswick.
The NPAIS also provides neuropsychological assessments to individuals aged 12 to 21 years of age, who live in the Eastern Metropolitan DHS region (see: www.dhs.vic.gov.au/about-the-department/our-organisation/organisational-structure/our-regions/eastern-metropolitan-region for more details). This service may include ongoing follow up and support where required. Such follow-up includes feedback, consultation with other key workers, and behaviour management support.
+ What will an assessment cost?
The Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS) funds arbias neuropsychological assessments for clients who live in the greater Melbourne metropolitan area. There is no charge for these assessments if they are for clinical, diagnostic or management purposes. Adolescents aged between 12 and 18 years who live in the Eastern Metropolitan DHS Region are also eligible for a DHS funded (i.e. no fee) neuropsychological assessment.
Decision making capacity assessments for the VCAT Guardianship List are also fully funded by Metro DHS. All other medicolegal or court related referrals are seen through the Private Clinic (see below).
arbias currently accept referrals from all regions of Victoria, clients referred from rural regions are no longer processed through the Private Clinic as long as they attend the Brunswick office for the assessment. Any off-site assessments will be FFS.
+ What is the NPAIS private clinic?
arbias operates a private clinic for people who are not eligible for a metropolitan-DHS funded neuropsychological assessment.
arbias neuropsychologists produce expert witness reports for the legal system. The NPAIS has built considerable expertise in completion of reports for the criminal courts system. Private Clinic assessments are often purchased via Victoria Legal Aid funds, court programs (e.g. CISP, The Neighbourhood Justice Centre) and rural DHS funded services.
Clients who are seen through the Private Clinic include:
- Cases where the report is for medicolegal or /court matters;
- Assessments of a person's capacity to drive;
- Referrals for people who do not live in a metropolitan-DHS region (please refer to the DHS website at http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/our-regions if you are uncertain of your region);
- Adolescents aged 12 to 18 years who do not live in the Eastern Metropolitan-DHS region.
Private clinic referrals should be made directly to arbias.
Some common questions about referring to the NPAIS:
+ Who can make a referral?
Referrals can be made by anyone who is involved with the person. Referrers may include: the person with an ABI; a family member; social worker; medical doctor; health professional etc.
+ Why do people get referred to see a neuropsychologist?
It is important for the referrer to clearly describe what they want to learn from the assessment. This is called the "referral question". A clear referral question (or questions) provides the neuropsychologist with a focus for the assessment and enables the testing and report to be targeted to address the key issue(s) of concern.
This is a list of some common referral questions:
- Does the person have an ABI?
- Does the person meet criteria for a DHS Target Group Assessment? This is part of determining their eligibility for individual funding from DHS (e.g. ISP's) and can be used to support an application to the Disability Support Register (DSR).
- What are the person's cognitive strengths and weaknesses?
- Is an ABI causing a client's maladaptive or challenging behaviours?
- Guidance regarding management of everyday cognitive problems (e.g. memory failures, finances).
- Advice for management of individuals who present with behaviours of concern (e.g. aggression, apathy) following an ABI.
- Decision Making Capacity Assessments where applications to the VCAT Guardianship List for appointment of a Guardian or Financial Administrator are being considered.
- Does the person have the necessary cognitive capacity to make or revoke an Enduring Power of Attorney?
- Assessment and recommendations for persons with a known or suspected ABI who are involved in the Justice or Corrections system.
+ Will I have to wait for an assessment?
NPAIS services are often in high demand. To manage this we maintain a waiting list for neuropsychological services. All referrals are placed on the waiting list after the degree of urgency for the assessment has been evaluated against priority of access criteria.
+ Can you give me more information about Neuropsychological assessments?
Guide to Neuropsychological Assessment for clients and family members (Download Adobe PDF 385kb).
Please contact our National Intake and Response Service to discuss your referral or to request a referral form.
Phone: 1800-272 427 or 1800 arbias
Direct Dial (03)8388 1217
Fax: (03) 9387 9925
Referrals should be sent "Attention Intake and Response - NPAIS
By mail to: arbias Ltd, PO Box 5002, Brunswick North 3056
By Fax to: 03 9387 9925