Neuropsychological Evaluations

WHAT IS A NEUROPSYCHOLGOICAL ASSESSMENT?

A neuropsychological assessment is a comprehensive analysis of developmental, medical, social, psychological, and cognitive functioning. These assessments are typically used to help make diagnostic decisions and guide treatment options. 

 

An assessment with Dr. Contardo will typically take place across three visits. 

INTERVIEW, IN-PERSON ASSESSMENT, FEEDBACK

INTERVIEW

The clinical interview may take place in-person, or via a televideo conference call.

This is the first step in the evaluation and typically takes about one hour. It gives Dr. Contardo a chance to learn about you and your family’s concerns in detail. During the interview, Dr. Contardo will ask you and your family questions about how symptoms began and may have changed over time. He will review your background including childhood, family history, school and work background, medical diagnoses, medications, recent hospitalizations, mental health, coping skills, and hobbies/current interests. Dr. Contardo will also review medical records from your referring doctor to learn about your medical history, most recent medical appointments, and medications.

ASSESSMENT

This is the second step in the evaluation and typically takes 2-3 hours. This step takes place in-person at Dr. Contardo’s office.  Rest breaks are taken whenever needed!  The majority of these tests are paper and pencil based and will be administered by a trained technician under the supervision of Dr. Contardo. You will be asked to do things like read words aloud, reason your way through puzzles and learn a list of words. All test instructions will be clearly explained. There are no tricks. The goal is to identify areas of cognitive strengths and weaknesses to help understand how your brain is working. These are not pass or fail tests and there are no grades! These assessments are the gold standard for figuring out how the brain is working and how the person is coping in everyday life. Our job is to make you feel as comfortable as possible during the testing process. Your only job is to try your best!

FEEDBACK

This is the third, and most important step, in your assessment.  The feedback may take place in-person, or via a televideo conference call. Your feedback session will typically take one hour. Once Dr. Contardo has integrated the test data with your medical records and the information gathered in the interview, a comprehensive report is written detailing the results and personalized treatment recommendations. This report will be reviewed with you and your family during the feedback session in understandable language. You, your family and Dr. Contardo will discuss any additional questions during this meeting. Finally, we set up a plan for follow up with Dr. Contardo for you or your family.

A NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT CAN:

  • Determine if changes in thinking, including memory, are related to normal aging, an injury, dementia, medications, a medical condition or something else

  • Establish a baseline so that changes in thinking skills, mood and personality can be monitored over time and treatment options can be updated

  • Help the patient and family make decisions about work, financial management, living situation, driving, and other decision making capacity

  • Provide information for a physician in order to help with diagnostic conceptualization, medication selection to reduce side effects or improve cognition, mood, behavior or everyday functioning

  • Educate family members about how a brain disorder has affected the patient’s thinking skills and personality so they can better help and understand

  • Offer personalized recommendations that address all contributing factors.

HOW WILL THIS EVALUATION HELP ME? 

Before the most helpful and appropriate recommendations can be made, we need to know exactly what is causing the problem. A neuropsychological evaluation is the gold standard for figuring out why changes in thinking, mood or behavior have happened. Once a diagnosis has been made, we can then offer you and your family personalized recommendations. These can include:

  • Medication suggestions pending physician approval

  • Strategies for managing medical conditions that are contributing to memory decline

  • Counseling for patient and family

  • Caregiver support and recommendations 

  • Recommendations for living situation and home based support

  • Discussions of unsafe activities and behaviors

  • Environmental modifications, strategies for behavior change

  • A frank discussion of decision making capacity and implications on family decision making

HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR TESTING

  •  Bring your eyeglasses or hearing aids, if you have them

  •  Take your medication as you normally would

  •  Get a good night’s sleep the night before, eat a good breakfast or lunch before you arrive at your appointment

  •  Be ready try your very best!

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Please call us with any questions.