Neuropsychologist referral...worth it or not? - Headway

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Neuropsychologist referral...worth it or not?


Ok, so my other half (11 months since receiving brain injury) is getting some worrying feedback at work - maybe no longer meeting expectations in role, not able to do full time hours,perhaps needs to move to less demanding position, recovery not as quick as they he wants a better understanding of how his cognitive abilities have been affected. Neurologist did a few tests with him 6 months ago and gave him drugs for the headache but no further recommendations for help. We are wondering whether to get a neuropsychologist referral and what help this might give us. Anyone with experience of neuropsychologists who can tell us what to expect? Thanks

12 Replies

From personal experience I would recommend neuropsych evaluation. I had mine about a year after my accident when things were not improving as we had hoped and it was a real eye opener.

The assessment itself was exhausting. They sent us some pre assessment forms to complete. One for me to complete as the patient and one for my husband/mother to complete as they could give insight into daily life and how I had changed.

The assessment itself took place over two days and we met with the neuropsch together and separately and I underwent a detailed series of cognitive tests... to be honest they all blurred one into another and I was totally wiped by the halfway point and I cried with frustration a couple of times...BUT it was worth it.

Once the results of the extensive testing were evaluated we met with the neuropsych again to discuss them and we learned things that we had not realised... and she was able to explain how the results related to the difficulties I was experiencing and she was also able to suggest strategies we might try.

We also received a full written report that we could refer to...because of course it is a lot of information to take in.

Having confirmation of what was going on really helped and because nobody likes to have their "deficits" confirmed, having strategies to try left us hopeful.... once we had that confirmation we were better able to focus our energies and attention on tailored strategies that really made a difference rather than stumbling about trying general things that were never going to work because my former processing skills were broken.

I am so glad I underwent this testing...I did another neuropsych eval as part of the memory aids programme and although it was equally exhausting, it was again extremely useful.

gabbycat in reply to iforget

Hi, it sounds, from your experience like this is the sort of evaluation we are looking for. Hope you don't mind me asking, was this NHS or private?

iforget in reply to gabbycat

It was NHS at the national neuro hospital.

Hi, I'm in a very similar position and from previously being in a high profile job and coming back to it has been very challenging. There is not enough support on people returning to work after an illness so I have been seeing a neuropsychologist to help me but also to create a report that will explain to my work what help I need in the workplace. It's extremely important to do this. The company are now being very supportive and are going to implement a new 'return to work' program for those coming back after a serious illness. So I would definitely recommend as it has made it much easier for me to understand and my workplace to understand the differences. Good luck !

iforget in reply to Kavib

It is do important for employers to understand what is needed. Sadly mine did not and it was a nightmare. Hope things work out well in your case.

Yes your 'other half' would definitely be helped by have cognitive testing by a neuropsychologist to identify areas of the brain that have been damage so that he can be helped with statagies to manage. The testing is various brain puzzle type activities to solve, checks memory, impulsiveness, ability to switch attention etc. Whatever the neurologist did would not have been as indepth as the testing a neuropsychologist did. I didn't have cognitive testing done initially as it wasn't realised I was to have ongoing problems. It was about 8 months later that I was struggling to manage in various ways and asked to be referred to a neuropsychologist. Do you have any NHS brain injury services or neuropsychology services in your area? You should be able to get a referral even if it means a referral out of area but there maybe a waiting list to be seen. Your 'other half' needs to get an appointment to see his GP who will make the referral.


Yes, it is well worth it. My husband had this and it helped us a lot. Here there is a VERY long waiting list (nearly a year) unfortunately.

Hello Gabbycat, Jules here

Mine was an 18 month wait from the time the GP eventually referred me to the Neuro hospital.

I have had private assessments too, but they were expensive.

I found the NHS assessments more helpful at identifying problems and management.

Best of luck



Regarding treatment at work, have you spoken to EASS or ACAS? It sounds like your husband is covered by the Equalities Act 2010. This requires employers to make reasonable adjustments to overcome the impact any impairment may have. They can't demote or reduce salary. Both organisations have info about discrimination and disabilities plus EASS has template letters that could help. Also, has his employer referred him for an occupational health assessment?

I had a neurocognitive test in a good spell where most of me seemed to be working but not so the brain and the tests were invaluable in proving that no, I wasn't imagining it all, even though the function in my legs had returned, cognitively I was still having difficulties.

Coping strategies were rather obvious (do 1 thing at a time, reduce distractions, write endless lists etc...) but the relief that I was not going mad and my brain was indeed only functioning at 50% previous capacity in some areas was oddly comforting but undeniable.

Hi gabbycat,

I found the tests the neuropsychologist did were really helpful. Like a lot of people have said they were exhausting, but they gave me some helpful insights into where my deficits were. The neuropsychologist then helped with coping strategies.

It was also useful to have it all written down as I do forget easily. I was hoping that there would be some ways to make things better but he said it was better to work on how to make life easier. He even came to my house to look at how I organise life as that was an area he highlighted and it is important to me as I have two children that I have to try and get to the right place at the right time with the right things, as well as managing my job 2 days a week and running a house. My hubby is great but I wanted ways to manage as much as I can myself.

I hope you find something that helps

Best wishes


Absolutely worth it.

Mine came by referral from speech therapist.

The testing was horrible even though i made the neuropsychologist laugh when i just pleated with laughter on being presented with join the dots. That was exactly what my brain was like​.

There were lots of dots. None of them had numbers and you couldn't see the invisible ink that was maybe connecting them.

Following the assessment i was referred to neurophysiotherapy and occupational therapy. I can honestly say that I don't know what i would have been like without them but i can now cope.

As i said i think it's absolutely worth it.

Love n hugs


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