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Neuropsychological Assessment

Neuropsychological services at the Wallace-Kettering Neuroscience Institute (WKNI) were established in 1997. The goal of the Department of Neuropsychology is to help establish the diagnosis of conditions that affect brain functioning while assisting in the care and adjustment of patients and their families.

Neuropsychological evaluations consist of tests designed to assess concentration, language, memory, and other cognitive abilities. Oftentimes, self-report measures of psychological functioning are also given in order to assess current psychological adjustment. These tests are administered by a neuropsychologist and/or a trained assistant (psychometrician). Many of the tests start with easy questions and problems to solve, which often increase gradually in difficulty. No one is expected to be able to answer all of the questions. Although almost everyone feels at least a little anxious or tense about taking tests, this is natural, and is taken into account when reviewing the results.

Close friends and family members often have useful information regarding the patient's abilities. To help understand the patient better, the neuropsychologist may want to speak with these individuals.

Outpatient Neuropsychological Evaluations

Outpatient assessments typically last three to four hours, but sometimes an additional session of one or two hours is needed. The majority of the appointment is directed toward assessment of cognitive functioning; however, the neuropsychologist will also spend time talking to the patient in order to better understand the patient's current difficulties, medical history, physical health, and emotional well-being which can affect cognitive functioning.

It is important that patients bring their eyeglasses, hearing aid and a list of their prescription medications to their appointment. During the initial appointment, a follow-up appointment will also be set up to provide the patient with the results of his or her evaluation. These results can be given to other medical providers involved in the patient's care as well.

Inpatient Neuropsychological Evaluations

Inpatient neuropsychological evaluations occur as a consultation/liaison service throughout Kettering Medical Center and are available to anyone that is a patient in the hospital, at the request of their physician or treatment team. These evaluations are often used to aid physicians and staff in the diagnosis and treatment of acute conditions that impact a patient's ability to think clearly or to determine if the patient has the cognitive capacity to provide informed consent. An inpatient neuropsychological evaluation may be appropriate if, for example, a patient remains disoriented after a surgical procedure, or their family notices difficulties with memory or other cognitive abilities while they are hospitalized. Inpatient neuropsychological evaluations may be able to differentiate if these cognitive difficulties can be attributed to an acute medical or psychological cause, or represent a worsening of pre-existing cognitive difficulties. For inpatient neuropsychological consultation please contact the Wallace Kettering Neuroscience Institute by phone or by faxing a consultation request. Inpatient neuropsychological consultations are typically completed within one date of notification, based on availability.

Rehabilitation Neuropsychology

Rehabilitation neuropsychology is a special category of inpatient care. Most patients admitted to the Kettering Medical Center rehabilitation unit are seen by a clinical neuropsychologist who has three primary objectives: neuropsychological evaluation, patient and family adjustment counseling, and educating patients and families on medical conditions that impact behavior and cognition.

  • Cognition is often compromised as the result of cerebral insults such as stroke or traumatic brain injury. The information gleaned from an inpatient neuropsychological evaluation is used by the treatment team to assist in the patient's care, as well as treatment and discharge planning. The results are also provided to the patient and family in order to help them better appreciate the immediate effects of the patient's illness and how best to maximize a sense of independence while maintaining appropriate safety precautions. Finally, the data can be used as a baseline by which to compare future evaluations. Comprehensive recommendations are also offered to assist in the transition from the unit to the home living environment.

  • A stay on the inpatient rehabilitation unit can often mean a traumatic medical event has occurred and adjusting to this event can be difficult for the patient and the family. Disruptions to a patient's mood, and increases in anxiety, are often present and can interfere with the rehabilitation process. Short-term adjustment counseling attempts to decrease the impact of mood and anxiety symptoms on the rehabilitation process.

  • Education on medical conditions that can impact behavior and cognition are often part of the inpatient rehabilitation stay. Education on these factors can be provided on an individual patient basis or in the form of psychoeducational groups.

Forensic Neuropsychological Services

The Wallace-Kettering Neuroscience Institute offers neuropsychological expertise in defense/plaintiff litigation, as well as independent examinations for personal injury and workers' compensation cases. Our neuropsychologists are available for expert witness testimony and consultation.