hat is Clinical Neuropsychology?
Clinical neuropsychology is a specialty profession that focuses on brain functioning. A clinical neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist with additional training in how behavior and skills are related to brain structures and systems. In clinical neuropsychology, brain function is evaluated by objectively testing memory and thinking skills. A very detailed assessment of abilities is done, and the pattern of strengths and weaknesses is used in important healthcare decisions, such as diagnosis and treatment planning. The clinical neuropsychologist conducts the evaluation and makes recommendations.
hy Have I Been Referred?
Neuropsychological evaluations are requested specifically to help your doctors and other professionals understand how the different areas and systems of the brain are working. Testing is usually recommended when there are symptoms or complaints involving memory or thinking. This may be signaled by a change in concentration, organization, reasoning, memory, language, perception, coordination, or personality. The change may be due to any number of medical, neurological, psychological, or genetic causes. Testing will be helpful in understanding your specific situation and help your medical providers design the best plan to treat you.
hat is Assessed?
A typical neuropsychological evaluation will involve assessment of the following:
- Attention and concentration
- General intellect
- Higher level executive skills (e.g., sequencing, reasoning, problem solving)
- Learning and memory
- Motor and sensory skills
- Mood and personality
- Visual-spatial skills (e.g., perception)
Some abilities may be measured in more detail than others, depending on your needs.
hat will the results tell me?
Test results can be used to understand your situation in a number of ways. Here are several examples:
- Identify weaknesses in specific areas. These tests are very sensitive to mild memory and thinking problems that might not be obvious. Testing can help determine whether memory changes are normal age-related changes or if they reflect a neurological disorder.
- Identify problems related to medical conditions that can affect memory and thinking, such as diabetes, metabolic or infectious diseases, stroke, multiple sclerosis, or alcoholism.
- Be used to help differentiate among illnesses, which is important because appropriate treatment depends on accurate diagnosis. The results can be helpful in determining which areas of the brain might be involved and what illness might be operating. Testing can help to differentiate among different dementias, depression and normal aging.
- Your physician will use this information along with the results of other tests, such as brain imaging and blood tests, to come to the most informed diagnosis possible.
- Sometimes testing is used to establish a “baseline,” or document a person’s skills before there is any problem. In this way, later changes can be measured objectively.
- Be used to plan treatments that use strengths to compensate for weaknesses.
hat should I expect during the test?
A neuropsychological evaluation usually consists of an interview and testing. During the interview, you will be asked about your symptoms, medical history, medications and other important factors. Testing involves taking paper-and-pencil or computerized tests and answering questions. The time required depends on the problem being assessed. In general, 3-6 hours are needed to assess the many skills involved. Frequent breaks will be taken, as well as a break for lunch.
hat should I bring?
Please bring glasses or hearing aids if you use them, as well as a list of current medications and any other relevant medical records you feel may be helpful in the evaluation process. A Patient History Questionnaire will be sent prior to your appointment. Please complete that packet prior to the evaluation and bring it to your scheduled appointment.
ow will I know if my medical insurance will cover neuropsychological services?
When you contact River Valley to schedule your evaluation, insurance information will be obtained and staff will verify benefit coverage. If any portion of services will not be covered, payment options will be discussed. Accepted insurances are HUSKY/Medicaid, Medicare, Connecticare, United Health, Aetna, Anthem, Oxford