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Seizing the opportunities to improve neuropsychological services in a High Secure hospital

Seizing the opportunities to improve neuropsychological services in a High Secure hospital Purpose – A significant number of people held within the secure forensic hospital estate in this country suffer from neuropsychological deficits (e.g. Lowings, 2010; Williams et al. , 2010). These deficits, many of them cognitive, have a detrimental impact on patient's abilities to benefit from psycho‐educational materials thereby slowing the progress of their rehabilitation. Understanding these difficulties enables interventions to be more effectively targeted and facilitated to the patients’ cognitive strengths. It was against the backdrop of the evidence that a review was commissioned into neuropsychological activity at Rampton Hospital. Design/methodology/approach – The review of the neuropsychological assessment activity was confined to the male patients residing within Mental Health Services (MHS) and the National High Secure Learning Disability Service (NHSLDS) of the hospital. With regards to the MHS, 129 patient files were examined in order to identify the volume of neuropsychological assessment previously undertaken and the make up of the neuropsychological test batteries administered with the current patient group. With regard to the NHSLDS 48 files were similarly examined. In addition, MHS psychologists were surveyed to assess their knowledge of patients within that service who to their knowledge had previously suffered an acquired brain injury (ABI) or had suffered a significant neurological illness likely to have resulted in cognitive impairment. Findings – A scoping exercise identified that a significant amount of neuropsychological assessment was being undertaken, albeit in an unstructured way. This led to a number of patients being subjected to a significant delay before the need for neuropsychological testing and rehabilitation possibilities became apparent. There was a huge variance on when a patient was tested ranging from one month to 14 years and the size of the test battery used, with the number of tests conducted per patient ranging between one single test to 16 tests during a patients stay at the hospital. Practical implications – Opportunities to more appropriately place patients based upon their abilities could be achieved if the hospital were to adopt a policy of conducting neuropsychological assessments, including cognitive functioning, for all patients upon admission to the hospital. A proportion of patients were known to have had a ABI or a significant illness likely to have resulted in cognitive impairment. This was considered to be an underrepresentation and the taking of a thorough history specifically covering ABI and specific illnesses known to have an impact on cognitive ability and behaviour was also recommended. Originality/value – In light of this review, services are to take a more systematic approach to assessing neuropsychological difficulties. Consideration is being given to neuropsychological screening becoming part of the admission process. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities Emerald Publishing

Seizing the opportunities to improve neuropsychological services in a High Secure hospital

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
2044-1282
DOI
10.1108/AMHID-10-2012-0002
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – A significant number of people held within the secure forensic hospital estate in this country suffer from neuropsychological deficits (e.g. Lowings, 2010; Williams et al. , 2010). These deficits, many of them cognitive, have a detrimental impact on patient's abilities to benefit from psycho‐educational materials thereby slowing the progress of their rehabilitation. Understanding these difficulties enables interventions to be more effectively targeted and facilitated to the patients’ cognitive strengths. It was against the backdrop of the evidence that a review was commissioned into neuropsychological activity at Rampton Hospital. Design/methodology/approach – The review of the neuropsychological assessment activity was confined to the male patients residing within Mental Health Services (MHS) and the National High Secure Learning Disability Service (NHSLDS) of the hospital. With regards to the MHS, 129 patient files were examined in order to identify the volume of neuropsychological assessment previously undertaken and the make up of the neuropsychological test batteries administered with the current patient group. With regard to the NHSLDS 48 files were similarly examined. In addition, MHS psychologists were surveyed to assess their knowledge of patients within that service who to their knowledge had previously suffered an acquired brain injury (ABI) or had suffered a significant neurological illness likely to have resulted in cognitive impairment. Findings – A scoping exercise identified that a significant amount of neuropsychological assessment was being undertaken, albeit in an unstructured way. This led to a number of patients being subjected to a significant delay before the need for neuropsychological testing and rehabilitation possibilities became apparent. There was a huge variance on when a patient was tested ranging from one month to 14 years and the size of the test battery used, with the number of tests conducted per patient ranging between one single test to 16 tests during a patients stay at the hospital. Practical implications – Opportunities to more appropriately place patients based upon their abilities could be achieved if the hospital were to adopt a policy of conducting neuropsychological assessments, including cognitive functioning, for all patients upon admission to the hospital. A proportion of patients were known to have had a ABI or a significant illness likely to have resulted in cognitive impairment. This was considered to be an underrepresentation and the taking of a thorough history specifically covering ABI and specific illnesses known to have an impact on cognitive ability and behaviour was also recommended. Originality/value – In light of this review, services are to take a more systematic approach to assessing neuropsychological difficulties. Consideration is being given to neuropsychological screening becoming part of the admission process.

Journal

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual DisabilitiesEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 15, 2013

Keywords: Cognition; Cognitive; Forensic; Neuropsychological deficit; Neuropsychology; Secure hospital

References