DR WENDY KELSO BSc Hons DPsych (Clin Neuro) CCN MAPS
Dr Wendy Kelso completed a Bachelor of Science (Hons) at the University of Melbourne and a Doctorate of Psychology at Victoria University. She began her career working with children and families with Turners syndrome at the Royal Childrens Hospital, Parkville. After relocating to Newcastle, she commenced working as a Clinical Neuropsychologist for the Neuropsychiatry Service, James Fletcher Hospital and the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, John Hunter Hospital. In her role at the Neuropsychiatry Service she gained valuable clinical and research experience working with people who had a diverse range of neurological and psychiatric conditions. While in Newcastle she developed an interest in Young Onset Dementia. She then moved to Sydney to work with Professor Tony Broe in co-ordinating the Cognitive Disorders Clinic, Prince of Wales Hospital. She was an Honorary Research Officer at the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute and worked with Dr Clement Loy and Professor John Hodges in setting up a specialist Fronto-Temporal Dementia (FTD) clinic. She has considerable experience in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of individuals with Young Onset Dementia and feels privileged to be able to provide counselling, support and education for family members and carers. She continues to be involved in education and training for health professionals and external service providers. As part of her role at the Neuropsychiatry Unit, Royal Melbourne Hospital she is involved in developing and improving models of service provision for people with Young Onset Dementia and their families.
DR JOANNA NEATH BA Hons DPsych (Clin Neuro) MAPS
Dr Joanna Neath completed her undergraduate studies with Honours in Psychology at the University of Melbourne, in 1997, followed by her Doctorate of Clinical Neuropsychology at La Trobe University before joining the neuropsychology team at Caulfield General Medical Centre. Her previous clinical training and professional experience has included working in a variety of settings including aged care, adult rehabilitation, adult inpatient psychiatry and child neuropsychology. She joined the Neuropsychiatry Unit at the end of 2005 where she enjoys working within a multi-disciplinary team providing sound knowledge and experience in adult cognitive screening, neuropsychological assessments, education and practical recommendations to patients and their families. She has been involved in a research project investigating the measures used by neuropsychologists in the assessment of decision-making capacity as well as a paper investigating the influence of orthographic knowledge on phonological awareness tasks.
DR ANITA GOH BSc Hons DPsych (Clin Neuro) MAPS
Dr Anita Goh is a neuropsychologist and a researcher. She is a clinician in the outpatient clinics at the Neuropsychiatry Unit and is also a research fellow at the National Ageing Research Institute, and Huntington's disease lab head at the Academic Unit for Psychiatry of Old Age, The University of Melbourne. Anita's work focused on optimising mental health and wellbeing, and dementia prevention and care. She is passionate about creating a future-friendly environment for our ageing population, which requires strong research and fundamental changes throughout healthcare organisations and in policy. Anita has won awards for her research and has diverse knowledge and experience in cognitive assessment, neuroimaging, dementia prevention, healthy ageing, mental health, technology to improve dementia care and in social issues such as discrimination. She was a National Dementia Training Study Centre Fellow in 2016, and Anita has been selected to be part of team Homeward Bound, a global leadership, strategies and science initiative for women, that aims to heighten the influence and impact of women with a science background in order to influence police and decision making as it shapes our planet.
SIMONE MANGELSDORF BA/Sc BSc Hons MPsych (Clin Neuropsych)
Simone Mangelsdorf completed both her undergraduate and postgraduate training at The University of Melbourne. Her research was on cognitive impairment in Type 1 diabetes. Following her training, Simone was a research assistant on the Older Australian Twin Study at the National Ageing Research Institute. She has worked on inpatient rehabilitation units, aged care wards and aged psychiatry wards as well as within a specialised movement disorders clinic. Her areas of interest include OCD, DBS, movement disorders and bioethics.
DR NICCI GRACE BBNS Hons DPsych(Clin Neuro)
Dr Nicci Grace completed her undergraduate studies with Honours in Behavioural Neuroscience and Psychology, followed by her Doctorate of Clinical Neuropsychology at Monash University. Nicci's previous clinical training and professional experience has included work across a variety of settings, including adult psychiatry, aged care, rehabilitation and acute. Nicci has also worked on a number of collaborative research projects and published papers investigating health ageing, brain stimulation for treatment of mental health disorders and neurodevelopment disorders. She is a current executive member of ASSBI (Australasian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment) and also works as a research officer within the eNACT (Neurorehabilitation and Clinical Translation) research group. Nicci values collaborative, multidisciplinary patient care. She is particularly interested in health policy and ways to facilitate community action toward healthy ageing and improved mental health awareness. Nicci joined the Neuropsychiatry Unit in 2018.
THE ROLE OF NEUROPSYCHOLOGY IN THE NEUROPSYCHIATRY UNIT
The Neuropsychologists within the Neuropsychiatry Unit provide assessment, diagnosis and treatment for individuals who are experiencing cognitive difficulties. The team specialises in seeing people with unusual, rare or complex presentations, often arising from psychiatric, medical and/or neurological disorders. For example, this may include the effects of anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and psychoses, the dementias (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, Fronto-temporal dementia, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Vascular dementia), depression, epilepsy, head injury, Huntington’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, substance abuse and tumours.
The Unit has considerable expertise in assisting people with Young Onset Dementia (YOD), and runs specialist clinics for people with YOD, Huntington’s disease, Niemann Pick Type C and other rare metabolic disorders. Upon request, a member of Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria or Huntington’s Victoria can attend clinic appointments to provide advice and assistance regarding their services.
ASSESSMENT OF COGNITIVE FUNCTION
This is undertaken using specific psychological tests and measures. Neuropsychological assessment provides the means to objectively measure what patient's may report, and to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the person being assessed to provide advice regarding management issues and strategies. This allows informed clinical decision-making based on the results of formal testing. Functions which are commonly examined include:
Executive (self-regulatory) function
Visuo-spatial skills and perceptual ability
Personality and behavioural function
FEEDBACK AND MANAGEMENT ADVICE
Following an assessment, the Neuropsychologist will provide feedback to the person, outlining areas of strength and weakness. Specialised cognitive remediation strategies are provided to assist the person manage or compensate for the cognitive difficulties identified. This may include the provision of cognitive and/or behavioural strategies, psychoeducation, environment modification, focused problem solving, and supportive counselling.
Education and advice regarding behavioural management is commonly requested. Once the nature and severity of a cognitive disorder is known, it is possible to provide advice to the individual, their family, and service providers about how best to manage social and behavioural changes. Psychological interventions can be devised according to the level of function of the individual. Referrals can also be made to external service providers for specialised behavioural management interventions in the home.
The Neuropsychiatry Unit is actively involved in a number of research collaborations with Universities, health services and non-government organisations. Current research projects include investigating the role of neurocognition and social cognition in people with Fronto-temporal dementia and Schizophrenia, and the neurocognitive profile of people with Niemann Pick Type C.
REFERRAL AND LIAISON
Referrals can be made on behalf of the person with the cognitive disorder, or their family members. Collaborations with community organisations can often assist a person in achieving their goals and in enhancing quality of life. They can also provide education, counselling and support for family members and care providers. This may include referrals to agencies such as Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria, Huntington’s Victoria, Commonwealth Rehabilitation Services, Community Health Centres, employers, educational and rehabilitation providers.