WHAT IS A MEMORY ASSESSMENT (NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT)?
What people commonly refer to as a Memory Assessment in clinical psychology terms is a Neuropsychological Assessment or Cognitive Assessment. These not only assess a person's performance on memory tasks but also on a range of other cognitive functions. They also examine a variety of other factors likely to affect memory. This is important as true memory problems do not generally occur in isolation. Also, memory can be affected by many things including stress, anxiety, depression, certain medical and neurological conditions, after a head injury, medications etc. It can also naturally deteriorate as we get older. Often people worry about their lapses in memory but what they are witnessing are merely normal age related changes. For others with actual identified problems a cause can be identified and the problem rectified quite easily and quickly. Thus enabling the person to return to normal functioning. In other cases the memory deficits may not be temporary and reversible but there still may be ways in which the person can develop new techniques to compensate for their memory loss.
WHAT DOES A MEMORY ASSESSMENT INVOLVE?
A Memory Assessment involves:
SESSION 1: An interview
SESSION 2: Assessment of memory and other cognitive functions
SESSION 3: Feedback of results and advice on coping with, or managing,
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
SESSION 1 generally lasts an hour.
SESSION 2 varies depending on how quickly a person performs tasks but is usually about 2 hours. If someone requires longer it may be best to be seen on two separate occasions to reduce fatigue.
SESSION 3: An hour is usually allocated to this session to allow time to have a full discussion of results. However, if an assessment is particularly complicated then more time may be necessary.
CAN I BRING SOMEONE WITH ME?
Some people like to have someone accompany them to their assessment. They may be anxious or have difficulty recalling the problems they have been experiencing. The person accompanying them can provide useful information about this. It can also be helpful for them to be present when results are being given as they will be able to help the person being assessed remember them.
It should be stressed though that a Psychologist will never speak with anyone about you without first getting your permission to do so.
HOW WILL HAVING A MEMORY ASSESSMENT HELP?
WHAT WILL A PSYCHOLOGIST GET FROM MEMORY ASSESSMENT RESULTS?
When a Psychologist looks at results from memory assessments they first want to see whether or not there is actually a problem with memory. Because memory is not a single thing a Psychologist will look to see what parts of the process of making, storing and retrieving a memory are working and which have broken down. They will also look to see what types of memory a person is having problems with e.g. short term, long term, memory for things you hear or those you see etc..
Performance on tasks assessing other cognitive functions such as concentration/attention, will give a clue as to how these are impacting on memory.
Other things which can affect memory are then considered e.g. depression, anxiety, stress, medical conditions, medication etc.
At the end of this the Psychologist has a picture of where problems exist, what is working well, what isn't and what things are contributing to the memory loss a person is experiencing. With this understanding advice on coping with memory problems can be given.
WHO TENDS TO HAVE A MEMORY ASSESSMENT?
Anyone who is very worried about their memory can have an assessment here though it might be worthwhile to first see your GP to rule out any medical cause which when treated will restore memory functioning.
Anyone who has a family history of memory problems and worries that they too have them e.g. where there is a family history of dementia.
Anyone who has had a head injury, stroke, or other neurological condition who has been struggling with day to day activities or with holding down their job.
WHY CHOOSE US FOR MEMORY ASSESSMENT
Memory Assessments of this type are not routinely offered in the NHS in Northern Ireland or surprisingly in memory clinics. The assessment offered is thorough and is carried out by an experienced, qualified, HCPC registered Clinical Psychologist at a time that best suits you.
FURTHER INFORMATION / ARRANGE AN APPOINTMENT
If you would like further information or wish to arrange an appointment please contact Dr Pauline Thomson at MAPT.