The Assessment

What is a neuropsychological evaluation?

The neuropsychologist gathers information from various sources to determine a diagnosis and treatment plan:

  • Review of your medical records and other history
  • Review of laboratory findings and brain imaging studies
  • An interview with you and, often, another person who knows you well. Dr. Rondeau and her staff will ask questions about symptoms, medical history, medications and other important information

What is the Time Required for an Evaluation?
The time required depends on the problem being assessed. In general, a few hours are needed to complete the assessment. If necessary, the evaluation may require two sessions or more.

Step 1

History and physical by the nurse navigator

Step 2

Initial diagnostic interview by the neuropsychologist

Step 3

Neuropsychological assessment

Step 4

Feedback session to explain the results and start treatment plans


Evaluation

The typical neuropsychological assessment will involve administration of standardize measures in the following areas:

  • General intellectual function
  • Simple and complex attention
  • Learning and memory
  • Higher level executive skills such as problem solving, reasoning, and organizing
  • Language abilities
  • Visual-spatial perceptual skills
  • Motor and sensory abilities
  • Mood and psychological adjustment
  • Quality of life
  • Level of independence to perform usual activities

Will Insurance Cover the Neuropsychological Evaluation?

Insurance coverage varies greatly depending on your insurance plan benefits. Some portion of the evaluation is usually covered. We will do our best to obtain prior authorization, but you are responsible for copays and unpaid portions.

If you need a referral from your primary care physician, please contact your doctor.

Please bring your physician’s prescription for the evaluation.

Here are some things to consider when preparing for the evaluation:

  1. My job responsibilities and daily activities are more difficult, frustrating and time consuming to do.
  2. There are specific examples of when my memory and thinking problems seem to interfere:
  3. I started to notice these problems: _____________. (some months ago, one-two years ago)
  4. My spouse, daughter, son, personal friend noticed a change in my memory, thinking and behavior. This is what they said: ____________.
  5. It seems that there was a sudden or gradual change over time.
  6. There was/was not a change in my health about the same time I experienced these difficulties.
  7. My medical history includes significant illnesses or conditions ______________. (past, including childhood, and current medical conditions)
  8. My current medications are: __________. (include supplements and over-the counter medications with dosages).
  9. My mood and reactions to others are different from usual/the same as usual.
  10. In my family, _______(parents, brothers or sisters) have experienced similar changes in their lifetime.

How Do I Prepare for an Evaluation?

rest

Get a good night’s sleep

Breakfast

Try to eat a decent breakfast

Medication

Take all medications unless you are directed to do otherwise

Glasses

If you use corrective eyeglasses, contact lenses or hearing aides, bring them

Files

Bring copies of available medical records or previous testing

Snack

Dress comfortably and bring a light snack and beverage

Identification

Bring your insurance cards and identification

icon-assessment

In order to send neuropsychological reports to your health care providers, please bring necessary contact information

Paper

Bring copies of any medical-relates records such as a previous neurodiagnostic evaluation, brain-imaging reports (MRI or CT scans), laboratory studies, etc.


What can be learned from a Neuropsychological Evaluation?

The evaluation will help you answer questions like:

  • What kind of lifestyle adjustments should I make?
  • What accommodations could make my work and daily activities easier?
  • What should I do to make sure that I can drive my car safely?
  • What can I do to make my independent living situation work for me?
  • Can I continue to live alone or should I consider my family’s offers for more assistance?
  • How will the evaluation results help my physician with treatment?

 
The results from the evaluation will help your medical care by:

  • Increasing diagnostic accuracy.
  • Knowing the extent of change that may have occurred after stroke, brain injury or illness.
  • Sorting out the cause of the change. The change may be due to any number of medical, neurological, psychological or genetic causes.
  • Clarifying treatment options and choices of interventions.
  • Establishing a baseline to measure the effectiveness of treatment.

Referrals

If a patient has been referred, neuropsychological evaluations are requested specifically to help doctors and other professionals understand how the different areas and systems of the brain are working.

A physician usually recommends testing when there are symptoms or complaints involving memory or thinking. This may be indicated 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 the specific situation.


Take a Simple Self-Test

Cogniciti

Are you over 50 and worried about memory changes? If so, you're not alone. A 2014 Brain Health Study showed that 70% of Americans ages 45-79 describe their memory as much worse or somewhat worse versus five years ago. Ninety-one percent of that group believe middle-aged and older adults should have their brain health checked regularly.

“We know that many adults worry about the forgetfulness that comes with aging, and fear it might be something more serious,” says Cogniciti’s President Michael Meagher. “In fact, the Brain Health Study showed that dementia/Alzheimer’s ranks as the second most feared disease in America behind cancer.”

The company says that while it’s not a diagnostic tool, Cogniciti, the online assessment is like a “temperature check for the mind” that will help a person determine the right time to discuss memory concerns with their doctor. The aim is to reassure the vast majority of adults who are healthy (the “worried well”) and nudge the small percentage of people who scored below normal to get checked by their doctor.

"Getting checked early is the best way to rule out other health problems such as stress and depression that could be causing cognitive issues," said Dr. Angela Troyer, program director of Neuropsychology and Cognitive Health at Baycrest Health Sciences, and a lead member of the research team that developed the test. "If it turns out you do have a significant problem with your memory, then early diagnosis will help you maintain your cognitive health and independence for as long as possible, and enable you and your family to plan for the care and support you'll need in the future."

(source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17610766)

Take the Self-Test Here

Click Here to Take Test

If you are in the ages 50-79 bracket, worried about your memory changes and whether you need to see a doctor, Cogniciti is a free online brain health test developed by the memory experts at Baycrest Health Sciences that will help you with that decision. The test – co-developed by the brain health solutions company Cogniciti Inc. (owned by Baycrest and partner MaRS Discovery District) – takes about 20 minutes to complete and is available to the public on their website.

The game-like tests tap into functions such as memory and attention, which are affected by aging and brain disease. You can take the test on a desktop or laptop computer at home (with internet access), and receive an overall score of your cognitive health immediately after you finish. Your confidential testing information is protected. However, be sure to make note of your score and account login information if you would like to share your results with Dr. Rondeau or your primary care physician.


Take Your Self-Assessment

If you are concerned that you (or a friend or relative) may be developing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, you are urged to discuss this with your primary care physician. He or she may want to refer you to a dementia specialist, such as a neurologist, neuropsychiatrist, geriatrician, or neuropsychologist.

However, we are able to determine whether an older person is at increased risk for having dementia based on your responses to a few questions.

http://alzcast.org/ChooseAssessment.aspx

Alzcast.org, in partnership with The Copper Ridge Institute (TCRI), a not-for-profit organization affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, conducts research on care issues and the development of educational programs to train family and health care professionals on best practices in dealing with individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
http://www.medicalautomation.org/2011/02/hopkins-online-test-for-dementia-risk/