Neuropsychology Services: For Patients

Purpose of a Neuropsychological Evaluation

Neuropsychological evaluations are typically requested to assist your doctors and healthcare providers in determining if brain functions, such as memory, attention, problem solving, etc., are functioning at expected levels. Doctors usually request a Neuropsychological evaluation when you or people close to you are concerned about changes in your memory or thinking skills. Often, family members may notice changes before the patient is aware of problems. Changes in brain functioning can be caused by medical, neurological, psychological, or hereditary issues. Some of the more well-known conditions that can impact brain functioning include:

 

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Frontotemporal dementias/other dementias
  • Head injuries/sports concussion
  • Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, including Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)
  • Epilepsy/seizure disorders
  • Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders
  • Brain tumors
  • Brain infections (encephalitis, meningitis, etc.)
  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack and cerebrovascular disease
  • Autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis
  • Capacity/competency issues
  • Exposure to pesticides and other toxic chemicals
  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
  • Neurosurgical interventions (pre and post)

How does this Evaluation Help?

  • Testing can determine if memory/cognitive changes are age-related or if they may be related to a particular disease or injury. Test results may be used to establish a baseline of your abilities in order to compare to future evaluations.
  • Additionally, the results are often required to assist in differentiating between different diseases so that the most appropriate treatment can be initiated.
  • Pre-neurosurgical assessments: If you are being considered for a neurosurgical procedure, such as deep brain stimulation or surgery for epilepsy, a neuropsychological assessment helps to inform the interdisciplinary team as to whether you would be a good candidate for the surgery or if you may be at significant risk for cognitive decline as a result of the surgery.
  • Your results will also help you and your family members better understand your day to day functional abilities and what kind of assistance you may benefit from.

What Brain Skills are Assessed?

Neuropsychological evaluations typically evaluate several domains of cognitive functioning. The neuropsychologist will look for patterns to help develop an appropriate treatment plan, if necessary. An evaluation will often involve assessing the following areas:

 

  • General intellectual ability
  • Attention and concentration
  • Memory
  • Language
  • Visuospatial perception
  • Problem-solving and reasoning ability
  • Functional abilities (everyday living skills)
  • Mood and personality

What Can I Expect During the Evaluation?

The neuropsychologist will meet with you and a family member to obtain a thorough understanding of what your symptoms are when they first began, and how they have progressed.

Next, you will be administered a series of tests that examine how certain brain systems are functioning. Almost all of these tests are paper and pencil. Some of the tests will be quite easy for you and others will be quite difficult. This is normal. It is important to try your best on everything.

The length of testing will vary depending on several factors. However, you should plan on being here for most of the day (though you will likely finish early). If needed, you will be given breaks throughout the day. You may bring a drink or a snack and lunch.

After the evaluation is completed, the neuropsychologist will interpret the scores, review your medical and social history, and compile all of this information into a report. In a separate feedback session, the neuropsychologist will discuss the results and recommendations.

Please note: please bring your hearing aids and glasses, if you wear them. If you need to take medications during the day, please bring them with you.

Will My Insurance Cover It?

Springfield Psychological accepts major insurances. You may be responsible for a copay or deductible at the time of your appointment. Springfield Psychological will investigate insurance coverage, but it is not guaranteed.

It is suggested to check with your insurance company to see if coverage is allowable for neuropsychological evaluations and interventions. Sometimes, they are covered under “medically necessary” services and require a referral script from your physician and prior authorization. A referral form can be provided to you and your doctor to ensure all relevant information is provided.