Assessing cognitive and behavioural change

Some people with motor neurone disease (MND) will experience changes in thinking, reasoning and behaviour. For many people the changes will be subtle and have little or no effect on daily life, but a small number of people will develop frontotemporal dementia and need additional support.

The importance of timely assessment

Understanding the level of cognition of the person with MND is crucial to help them and their family to cope with what may lie ahead, including being able to make timely decisions about treatment and care.

The family may experience relief when cognitive and behavioural changes are professionally acknowledged, and the relationship to MND is properly attributed and explained.

Assessments can lead to suggestions of how to help minimise any confusion and frustration that the changes are presenting. Any management of changes in cognition and/or behaviour should always involve the person with MND, together with their family and carers.

Assessment methods

Methods commonly used by professionals include:

  • interview
  • functional assessment
  • standardised screening measure of cognition and behaviour
  • informant-based behavioural questionnaires
  • assessment according to current criteria for MNDbi (behavioural impairment), MNDci (cognitive impairment) and MND-FTD.

A formal, detailed assessment should be undertaken by a clinical neuropsychologist where available.

Find out more

More information about cognitive change and FTD can be found in our booklet for health and social care professionals:

• Cognitive change, frontotemporal dementia and MND

Contact MND Connect if you have any questions about MND and supporting people with the condition.

Other useful resources

For further information and support contact our MND Connect helpline

mndconnect 0808 802 6262