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 allows effective treatment, management, or rehabilitation of the issues.

What Do Neuropsychological Assessments Involve?

After a detailed interview by a neuropsychologist, a person works with a trained technician to complete neuropsychological evaluations. These assessments measure cognitive (thinking) skills, including memory, attention, language, visual skills and other skills known as executive functions (e.g., multitasking, problem solving). The assessments require doing things like answering questions out loud, remembering things, or using paper and pencil. Some assessments are very easy, and some are quite challenging. The neuropsychologist and technician will work with you to help you do your best.

The patterns of strengths and weaknesses on these assessments help identify which areas of the brain are functioning well, and which are doing poorly. You will also be asked about your mood and emotional functioning because these can also affect a person’s thinking.

How Long Do Neuropsychological Assessments Take?

A typical neuropsychological evaluation takes 6-8 hours. The first hour is usually spent asking about changes in your thinking/memory, medical history and background (e.g., education, work history, family history, etc.). 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 is not present during the tests. You can take breaks as needed throughout the day, including lunch.

What Should I Bring to the Appointment?

o    Insurance card

o    Photo identification

o    Eyeglasses and/or hearing aids

o    An up-to-date list of all medications

o    A family member

o    Any questionnaires you are asked to complete before the appointment

Should I Bring Anyone with Me to the Appointment?

Yes. We ask that a family member is present for the clinical interview, which is typically at the beginning of the day. It helps to have them describe any changes they have noticed or concerns about you. Your loved one will only be needed for one hour.

Other Tips for a Neuropsychological Assessment:

o   Get a good night’s sleep

o   Bring water or other drinks/snacks

o   Bring lunch or expect to go out for lunch

o   Take your medications normally (we recommend not taking non-essential medications that make you sleepy)

o   Bring a cushion if you’re uncomfortable sitting for long periods

o   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, where the neuropsychologist will explain the results and recommendations in person. The neuropsychologist also will communicate the results of the evaluation to your neurologist or the other physicians you choose.

Other Services

Deep Brain Stimulation

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

Self-Management for Epilepsy

Our clinicians are trained in UPLIDFT and HOBSCOTCH, two self-management programs for people with epilepsy.

Epilepsy Surgery

Our clinicians provide pre-surgical neuropsychological evaluations for epilepsy surgery through the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.