Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The journey from uncertainty to certainty and back again : experiences of neuropsychological assessment for possible dementia, using interpretative phenomenological analysis
Author: Robinson, Chantel
ISNI:       0000 0001 2437 3328
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2016
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Background: Dementia has become a global public health and social care priority (World Health Organisation, 2012b). In England, the National Dementia Strategy promoted a drive towards earlier diagnosis of dementia (Department of Health, 2009). An important part of the transition from one’s identity without dementia, to a person with dementia is being assessed for cognitive impairment. Currently, little is known about peoples’ experiences of being assessed for possible dementia, or how they make sense of, adapt and cope with this process. Previous research has predominantly focused on exploring experiences of people who are living with dementia, from the point of diagnosis. The current study aims to add to the understanding of the “dementia journey”, by exploring participants’ experiences of undergoing a neuropsychological assessment for possible dementia. Method: This study employed a qualitative design. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore participants’ experiences of neuropsychological assessment for possible dementia. Eight participants were interviewed, after they had completed their neuropsychological assessment. Assessment outcomes were mixed, and not all received a diagnosis of dementia. Interview transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Results: Four interrelated superordinate themes emerged from the interview data, which represented participants shared experience of neuropsychological assessment. These were: “Things aren’t right: what’s wrong with me?”, “Testing by name, testing by nature”, “Professional roles: different sides of the same coin”, and “Finding out....”. Neuropsychological assessment experience was depicted as a journey characterised by uncertainty and participants’ search to make sense of and ameliorate that uncertainty. Conclusions: Undergoing a neuropsychological assessment for possible dementia can be a distressing and uncertain experience, despite professionals’ efforts to explain the assessment process. Current clinical practices should be reviewed and adapted to best meet the needs of people being assessed for possible dementia. Future research that explores experiences of other types of dementia assessment would be interesting.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available