Neuropsychological assessment fact sheet for psychologists and other health practitioners

This fact sheet provides information for psychologists and other health service providers to help them when making neuropsychological assessments, related to brain injury after a motor accident.

In the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) and Lifetime Care and Support (LTCS) schemes, reports on neuropsychological assessments are used for more than informing the treating rehabilitation team to guide intervention plans and monitor recovery.

The results and reports from these assessments are also useful for insurers and solicitors when considering the claim, establishing the severity of injury, determining settlement or assessing benefits. However, reports should not be arranged solely for these medico-legal purposes.

Assessments conducted for rehabilitation planning and treatment purposes take priority over medico-legal assessments, and where possible the needs of all parties should be met through a single assessment.

Psychologists receiving referrals for assessments of people with CTP claims or who are LTCS participants have a role in ensuring the individuals are not being inconvenienced by unnecessary assessments.

This can be achieved by considering the following:

  • Before accepting a referral and conducting an assessment:
    • Check that the referring party has determined if a treating team, such as the NSW Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program, is involved with the person. If so, the assessment should be referred to the treating psychologist in the first instance
    • Determine when the most recent assessment was conducted. Assessments should be at least one year, and ideally two years apart
    • Review the neuropsychological assessment notification (NAN) form to determine which other parties may have an interest in your report on the assessment
    • If an interested party requests specific information, consider how this may be provided (eg within the report or as a supplement) and accommodate this request whenever possible. This reduces the need for additional assessments
  • When arranging and during the assessment:
    • ensure the injured person has not recently attended another assessment before they attend the appointment
    • confirm which information they are required to bring to the appointment
    • help the injured person to understand that the information in the report may be used by all parties with an interest, including opposing solicitors.
  • After conducting an assessment and preparing a report:
    • If a request for additional information comes after a report has been finalised, consider how this may be accommodated. Additional charges for such requests should be negotiated prior to providing supplementary information. Providing additional or supplementary information may alleviate the need for an additional assessment.
    • Discussions and alternatives when an interested party is seeking an assessment at times contrary to those indicated by the person’s recovery path. For example, could the information or documentation be provided by the treating physician or another health professional?

The guidelines for neuropsychological assessment of children and adults with traumatic brain injury within the NSW Compulsory Third Party Scheme and Lifetime Care and Support Scheme 2013 have been developed to inform all interested parties of their role and responsibility in the arrangement and conducting of neuropsychological assessments.

The Guidelines also contain detailed information regarding the areas of cognitive functioning that should be assessed, examples of tests that could be used and the information and opinions that should be included in the report.