Screening and Assessment for Cognitive Impairment
This section provides information on screening and assessment tools for cognitive impairment that your service can use and considers a range of issues that may affect the screening and assessment of complex needs. The main points are that:
Many people in drug and alcohol services have some kind of cognitive impairment and spend their whole lives without a diagnosis. A diagnosis can be valuable, though for some people with complex needs a diagnosis can increase the barriers to the treatment and support they need.
Functional assessments help identify the level of support, supervision and resources a person needs. They can be used to determine eligibility, care planning and assessing outcomes.
Questionnaires may be used to screen for cognitive impairment. There are benefits to this approach in that questionnaires can often be quicker to administer and more acceptable to clients than cognitive screening tests.
A full neuropsychological evaluation of a client is not always possible. Cognitive screening tests can be a useful alternative option.
Clinical neuropsychological assessment is the gold standard with respect to formally evaluating and documenting the nature and severity of cognitive impairment.
Diagnosing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) requires a specialist team and a specific diagnostic tool.