What is a neuropsychological evaluation?
A neuropsychological evaluation is a formal assessment of mood, personality and cognitive abilities (e.g., memory, concentration and problem solving) that is conducted by a certified neuropsychologist.
Research shows that many people with movement disorders, psychiatric disorders or acquired brain injuries demonstrate changes in their mood, personality and thinking skills (such as attention, memory and planning). These changes may be subtle or dramatic and may reflect the underlying disease process or side-effects from treatment.
What does a neuropsychological evaluation do?
This type of evaluation determines if a person’s thinking skills, mood and personality have been affected by a neurological disorder. A neuropsychological evaluation also does the following:
- Establishes a baseline so that changes in thinking skills, mood and personality can be monitored over time to provide better treatment
- Helps the patient and family make decisions about work and other responsibilities
- Educates family members about how the brain disorder has affected the patient’s thinking skills and personality so they can better help and understand
- Provides information for a physician in order to help with medication selection to reduce side effects or improve cognition
Who should have a neuropsychological evaluation?
All patients who are considering deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment movement and psychiatric disorders are required to complete a neuropsychological evaluation to help determine their candidacy for surgery. Research suggests that patients with significant cognitive difficulties may not be suitable candidates for DBS. A second evaluation is recommended six to 12 months after surgery.
What is involved in neuropsychological evaluation?
There are two parts to the evaluation:
- Interview (1 to 1 ½ hours): A neuropsychologist interviews the patient and a family member separately to determine how the neurological disorder is affecting the patient’s life.
- Neuropsychological testing (3 to 4 hours): A neuropsychology technician administers tests measuring concentration, memory and a range of verbal and visual abilities. The testing is usually completed in one visit.
How do I prepare for a neuropsychological evaluation?
- Bring eyeglasses and any other required assistive devices (such as hearing aids)
- Take medication as prescribed
- Bring an accurate list of all medications you are taking, along with the dosages
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before
Does insurance cover a neuropsychological evaluation?
Insurance coverage varies greatly, depending on individual insurance plans. Some portion of the evaluation is usually covered. If you have any concerns, please check with your insurance company.
You also can contact a financial counselor at 216.444.2319 for help solving problems related to insurance coverage.
If you have any other questions about a neuropsychological evaluation, contact:
Cynthia Kubu, PhD, ABPP-CN
Darlene Floden, PhD