How Do People Get Tested For Dementia?

Uncategorized Apr 05, 2023

Put very simply, neuropsychological testing is a process, a series of tests to determine how well a person's brain is functioning. Care Blazers. 

. Neuropsychological testing can be done on you, on me, on anybody who has concerns about their thinking, and absolutely for people who have dementia or have concerns of.

The process of neuropsych testing is usually a several hour long process where the person will be put through a series of tests, almost like they're back in school, a bit. They'll be asked to remember a list of words, maybe remember a drawing they may be asked to, uh, remember. Numbers in a certain sequence, they might be asked to say those numbers forward.

To say those numbers backwards. They might be asked to connect some dots, put together some blocks. They might be asked to look at pictures and name those pictures. There are so many different specific tests that could be involved in neuropsychological testing, the specific tests. Usually kept secret because we need to protect them.

It's called test security because if we were to put out the exact name of and what all these tests were, well, then anybody could just go find the answers to them and then they would mean nothing. It would mean like I could basically cheat for the next test that I'm gonna take, and somebody could think I'm doing really great when I'm not.

I don't really wanna say that. All right, Carlito, for now, let's just do like what, what this video is about and what neuropsych testing is. When somebody gets referred for neuropsych testing, they're going to be asked to be put through. When someone gets referred for neuropsych testing, they are going to be asked to do a series of different things that it almost will feel like they're back in school.

Maybe remember a long list of words. Draw a picture later. Remember a picture, remember? A series of numbers, um, put together blocks, look at pictures on a page, and actually name those pictures. The purpose of all of those tests are to assess and see how well a person's brain is doing and each of the tests, although they might not make much sense to you when you look at 'em, you might be thinking.

Ridiculous. What is this about? Each of those tests are designed to assess a different part of the brain to assess attention, visual memory, verbal memory, processing, speed, meaning how quickly somebody can think, their visual perception, how well they're able to view the entire, um, Situation and make sense of it.

Their language abilities, what they can understand and what they can speak so that are not gonna look like they make much sense if you were to just observe it. But the neuropsychologist is literally assessing each of the different areas of the brain. And the reason they're doing that is because different types of conditions, in this case we're talking about dementia, different types of dementia.

Can present differently. For example, in vascular dementia, their verbal memory recall is usually, usually much better than an Alzheimer's disease dementia. So the, the different patterns of how somebody does on testing is actually painting a picture for that neuropsychologist to determine this is the type of dementia we think is happen.

Now, why is that important? Is it even, Does it even matter what type of dementia somebody has? Well, It's helpful to know and family members like knowing because it might determine what types of medication the person is prescribed. It might give information to the family in terms of how quickly that dementia typically progresses.

So it might give them more of a timeframe or a timeline of maybe needing to get some affairs in order, uh, maybe thinking about future planning. So for those reasons, it can be helpful. Now to the original question of this entire video, is it necessary? No. A lot of people don't ever get neuropsych testing.

And let me just say, I've done videos on this before. Neuropsych testing is not ever something given by the primary care doctor. It's not ever something given by their neurologist. It is not ever a 30 question test asking what day of the week it is and who the president is. It it, those 30 question tests, those are brief snapshots.

That's like taking a temperature of somebody just to see, do we have some concerns here? Yes, you can do totally fine on a 30 question test and still have dementia, and you can do totally poor on a 30 question test and maybe not have dementia. There's why, There's a whole comprehensive assessment that happens.

But for neuropsych testing, there's several reasons Somebody might not ever get it. Number one, there might not be a neuropsychologist special. Available or in the area. Number two, there might not be a nervous psychologist in the area who is ha has the same language as a person needing testing, uh, the person with dementia might not be willing.

To get tested. So even if the person with dementia gets to the appointment and is sitting across the table from the person doing the testing, that person might at some point say, I'm done with this. I'm not doing this, and so then they might not get the testing. So many different reasons like that where the testing might not ever happen.

Another common one would be by the time the person presents themselves. The family member maybe is able to get the person to the PCP or neurologist. That person is so impaired that they're not gonna be able to do the testing, or the testing wouldn't even be helpful because they're gonna be impaired across the board.

There will be no pattern to observe. There will be no strengths and weaknesses. Everything will be impaired. So in those cases, it's not really usually recommended to refer the person to neuropsych testing. It's not gonna be that helpful. So don't fret if you have not had your loved one receive this testing.

If you feel like your loved one would benefit, or you're wondering if they would benefit, you can bring this up with a primary care doctor to say, Can I get a neuropsych testing referral? Is that appropriate in this case? Would it be helpful in this case? That's certainly a possibility.

During full neuropsychological testing, family is not going to be allowed in the. And that's because we have to have the test environment be as standardized as possible, and where the person with dementia is just going to focus on that task without the concern or awareness that they're being observed or watched.

Also, what tends to happen is the person with dementia might look to the family member before they answer a question. Sometimes a family member might nod or shake their head, or it's just a distraction. So it's only in very, very, very rare circumstances, like maybe the person with dementia is so incredibly anxious that just having the family member sit in the room would be helpful.

Maybe it would then be approved, but for the most, Full on neuropsych testing for several hours. It's just gonna be the person doing the testing and the person with dementia and the person doing the testing is usually not the neuropsychologist. It's the neuropsychologist will do the clinical interview.

And, uh, get the testing results and then put the pieces of the puzzle together. But the person doing the testing is often called a psychometrist, a psycho attrition, and that's the person who is trained very specifically to follow the test instructions and score them up so that the neuropsychologist will interpret it.

Similar to how the neurologist isn't the person doing the brain scan, the radiology tech is putting the person through the brain scan, and then the neurologist is interpret. Interpreting that scan or the radiologist is interpret interpreting that scan. , do you have any other questions about the neuropsychological testing process?

Has your loved one ever had neuropsychological testing or are you unsure? Maybe some questions were asked, but not all the questions. Do you know if it was just a screening test or the full on assessment? So I hope this gives you some more information, and I know that this can feel complicated. There's no simple answers.

I feel like this is a field where there's no simple answers. Even the specific tests given inside the neuropsychological testing that can vary from person to person and from clinic to clinic. The tests that are determined to be given, the neuropsychologist decides what tests. To be given, and it will vary based on what that neuropsychologist is trying to figure out, what tests that neuropsychologist thinks the person will be able to tolerate and handle.

So it's a lot of information. I know it can be confusing, but I hope the overall message that has helped you here today is that. Not everybody gets neuropsychological testing. Sometimes it's because you haven't asked for it or because you're with somebody who, uh, you're seeing a primary care provider who might not think it's helpful, so you can just ask about it, or it might be because it's not really recommended for your loved one.

They're so far impaired. We don't think that it's going to be helpful and it's might not be worthwhile for that person to sit through all those hours of testing based on the information you would get. I do wanna mention after somebody gets neuropsych testing, a common recommendation might be for that person to return in a year, a year's time to get follow up testing.

The follow up testing is helpful because it will. Tell you whether or not that person has declined, whether or not they have had a change in any of their thinking areas, in any of their thinking abilities. And that will give you a snapshot into the progression, the rate of progression, how quickly it's progressing.

So that can be helpful. At some point, the neuropsychological testing will stop because at some point it will no longer be helpful. It will be no longer giving you. Helpful information that's worth that time for the testing for the person with dementia. Just put somebody through that testing. It's not pleasant, and as the disease progresses and they start to have more and more impairments, at some point it will likely be we don't recommend any further neuropsych testing.

Let me know what other questions you have about this. For those of you who want to learn more about working with me inside my dementia care club, there's also a link below, and thank you for being here. Thank you for doing what you are doing for your loved one with dementia. Thank you for taking your time to just try to figure out a really complicated process.

Really complicated testing, really complicated healthcare system. It tells me you're trying to do the best that you can and that is amazing. I am sending love to each and every one of you. So is Lola here? Nico was underneath my feet. Lola is in my chair. Oh, okay. She's what? Hi Lola. Alright, Sending love.



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