How do they do a psychiatric assessment on a non-communicative person


Registered User
Jan 29, 2006
Hello everyone

My mum has to have a psychiatric assessment by the mental health team as her case has been passed to them after SS said her care needs are too high for them to organise respite.

I wondered if anyone has any experience of how this assessment is conducted on someone who is unable to communicate?

Also if SS have said that mum definately needss EMI care but they are unable to provide it based on her care needs then what other options are there for respite?

Many thanks :confused:

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hi currywurst,
Sorry I don`t have any answers, but I`m sure someone will come along soon who does.
The only psychiatric, non-verbal tests I`ve witnessed have been with non-verbal children. These tests were conducted using visual stimulus and gesture.
It will be interesting to see if similar tests are conducted with non-verbal adults.
The only EMI care I know of is permanent residential care.
I wish I knew more. Love Sylvia x


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Hi Currywurst

My husband has difficulty communicationg, and hasn't had a memory test for three years. They just go by the way he presents, and what I tell them. So I'd be interested to hear what sort of assessment they carry out on your mum.

Our EMI unit does take respite patients, but only if they have a free room. They don't set one aside for respite, so it's pot luck.

Let us know how you get on.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
My mother communication is very low , my mother had another assessment done on her memory last yes , her 2nd one was 2 years ago .

1st one 4 years ago .

this time like always they did the normal memory test that they do with every , my mother keep looking at me for the answer , but I was told not to say anything .

Her scoring when I ask had done down 2 points from last year 12 so now is 10.

I feel they assess the person in how they thing they can put it over for then to understand if they feel they can not undertand , as the one my mother had last year , was handle different worded , then when she had her first one and 2 nd one.


I wonder if the rest of you would agree , if someone who has dementia can not understand what is being ask of then , its because the disease is progressing that is why they can not communicate , communication is also going to so also the disease is progressing in that area also ?

( I am not talking about someone who has AZ who is being uncooperative in communicating if anyone bring that up )
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Registered User
Jan 29, 2006
Thanks for the replies.

I was hoping to come back and tell you how the assessment went and how it was done but it appears it wasn't a psychiatric assessment (PA). It's funny that because the SW told me last week it was a PA, the new SW phoned to make the appointment and said it was a PA but it seems it was another assessment for me, perhaps it is me being PA'd :eek:

I can't work it out actually. The SW said last week mum's case was being passed to the mental health team as mum's care needs were too high so they couldn't help with respite. But today we discussed mum going into exactly the same care home that I had talked about with the first SW, very confusing. Also I had to really put my foot down and say that it was respite I wanted, I felt that I was really only being offered help with mum on a daily basis but I said I could cope fine day to day it was hopefully rolling respite that I wanted.

Anyway I will hear soon, fingers crossed.


Registered User
Feb 22, 2007
East Yorkshire
Assessment of non communicative people

Hi currywurst

Just read your enquiry. All is hopefully sorted by now. However I was a CPN working in the Dementia field up to my retirement 5 years ago. It is very difficult assessing someone with limited communication, depending upon the degree of non communication. We used to try using pictures, photographs and the written word with varying degrees of success. however a great deal can be learned from close carers and their observations. The assessment process takes in more than just psychometric testing, day to day living skills, mood, behaviour and historical background are all incredibly important. We generally carried out a fairly comprehensive assessment over a six week period. The mental health team are there also to assess your needs as a carer too.

Hope this is helpful to you or anyone else in a similar position.


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