Jefferson University Hospitals

Neuropsychological Assessment

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Trained neuropsychologists at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia conduct comprehensive neuropsychological assessments for a wide range of neurologic disorders including epilepsy, dementia, stroke, multiple sclerosis, ADD and head injury.

What is Neuropsychology?

Changes in memory, other thinking skills, or behavior can cause great distress and may interfere with a person’s ability to function successfully. A comprehensive neuropsychological assessment helps to determine the causes and guide treatment of these issues. The assessment is given by a neuropsychologist – a clinical psychologist with specialized training in cognition (thinking skills), behavior and brain functioning. Our neuropsychologists work closely with neurologists and other physicians to care for patients with cognitive disorders, including epilepsy, stroke, ADHD, brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Some psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression, schizophrenia) can also lead to cognitive difficulties. An accurate diagnosis guides effective treatment, disease management, and rehabilitation.

What Do Neuropsychological Assessments Involve?

After a detailed interview by a neuropsychologist, you will work with a trained technician to complete neuropsychological tests. These tests measure all the key areas of daily functioning and cognitive (thinking) skills, including memory, attention, language, visuospatial skills, and executive functions (e.g., multitasking, problem solving). The tests require you do things like answering questions out loud, remembering things, or completing tasks using paper/pencil or computer. You may find that some tests are easy, while others will be challenging. The neuropsychologist and technician will work with you to help you do your best so that we get the most accurate picture of your neurologic and psychiatric status. You will also be asked about your mood and emotional functioning because these can also affect a person’s thinking and aide in the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders. The patterns of strengths and weaknesses on our tests help identify which brain functions are doing well and which may be in need of attention and treatment.

How Long Do Neuropsychological Assessments Take?

A typical neuropsychological evaluation takes 6-8 hours. The test battery is customized to your needs and the questions or requests of the referring professional. Shorter batteries can be administered if you are not able to complete the longer test battery. The first hour is usually spent discussing your symptoms, medical history, and background (e.g., education, work history, family history, etc.), and the remainder of the time is spent working with the technician administering the tests. A family member is usually present during the clinical interview but not during the testing procedures. You can take breaks as needed throughout the day, including lunch.

What Should I Bring to the Appointment?

  • Insurance card
  • Photo identification
  • Eyeglasses and/or hearing aids
  • An up-to-date list of all medications
  • A family member (preferred but not mandatory)
  • A questionnaire will be sent to you prior to your appointment. Please complete this and bring it to your appointment.

Should I Bring Anyone with Me to the Appointment?

Yes. We ask that a family member be present for the clinical interview, which is typically at the beginning of the day. We will ask them about any changes they have noticed in your health, as well as addressing any concerns they have in this regard. Your significant other will only be needed for one hour.

Other Tips for a Neuropsychological Assessment:

  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Bring water or other drinks/snacks
  • Bring lunch or expect to go out for lunch
  • Take your medications normally (we recommend not taking non-essential medications that make you sleepy)
  • Bring a cushion if you’re uncomfortable sitting for long periods
  • Bring a pain reliever (e.g., Tylenol, ibuprofen) if you think you will need them

How Do I Get the Results?

The neuropsychologist will write a comprehensive report that will outline your history, results of testing, possible diagnosis, and treatment recommendations. You will be invited to schedule a feedback appointment. At this appointment the neuropsychologist will discuss and explain your test results, and review the recommendations, all of which are aimed at improving your health and daily life. The neuropsychologist also will communicate the results of the evaluation to your referring doctor and other healthcare professionals of your choosing.

How are you keeping patients safe during the COVID-19 pandemic?

We prioritize the health and safety of our patients and are confident that we can keep you safe in our environment. We have redesigned our space to minimize close contact without interfering with testing procedures. Here are some of the things we are doing to protect you.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please contact us at 215-955-1111.

Other Services

Epilepsy Pre- and Post-Surgical Evaluation. Our clinicians provide pre-surgical and post-surgical neuropsychological evaluations for epilepsy surgery through the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.

Pre-surgical evaluation for Deep Brain Stimulation. Our clinicians provide pre-surgical neuropsychological evaluations for deep brain stimulation (DBS) through the Comprehensive Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorder Center.

Functional Brain Mapping. Consistent with current standard of care practices, the Cognitive Neuroscience and Brain Mapping Lab routinely conducts functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) for patients who are being considered for neurosurgical interventions to treat their intractable epilepsy. The resultant brain maps are used in surgical decision making so as to avoid disruption of functionally eloquent tissue and, thereby, reduce the risk of harm from brain surgery. For more information about this clinical program and related research using fMRI, visit the Tracy Research page.

Cognitive Rehabilitation is used to improve and restore cognitive functioning after brain injury or surgery. We provide this service to selected patients, typically those receiving care for epilepsy.

Self-Management for Epilepsy. Our clinicians are trained in UPLIFT and HOBSCOTCH, two self-management programs for people with epilepsy. Please click here to learn more about UPLIFT, HOBSCOTCH, and other self-management programs.

Support Groups.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) Caregiver Support Group
(Voorhees/South Jersey). Currently meeting virtually using Zoom. For meeting information please contact Abigail Lyon, PhD, phone: (215) 955-4957, email: Abigail.Lyon@jefferson.edu or visit the DLB Association website.

Parkinson’s Disease Support Group. Currently meeting virtually using Zoom. For meeting information please contact Lance Wilson, MSS, LSW, C-SWHC, phone: (215) 955-8257, email: Lance.Wilson@jefferson.edu