Frequently Asked Questions
To prepare you for your visit, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) we typically receive. When it comes to your questions, we have the answers.
Is there any testing done at the time of the first visit?
During your first visit, it is likely that the physician may do some cognitive testing with you, including pen and paper style tests to evaluate your memory, language, and other skills related to thinking. Occasionally, the physician may ask you to do bloodwork after the visit, or request that you obtain a brain scan. These are usually done at a later date following the visit.
Is bloodwork required for a new patient appointment?
Unless specified otherwise by your referring doctor, you do not need to complete any particular bloodwork prior to your first visit. Your physician may ask you to do bloodwork after evaluating you in the clinic.
What kind of medical records are preferred in preparation for a first office visit?
Please make sure you send ahead of time or bring with you to the appointment all records of prior evaluation performed for your complaints. For example, if you have memory difficulties and you already had an evaluation by another doctor for that, please bring all records you have from that doctor. Also, you should send ahead of time or bring with you all medical records from your primary care physicians for the past year.
What is neuropsychological testing?
A neuropsychological evaluation includes a series of tests designed to measure a person’s cognitive abilities such as memory, attention, communication, and problem-solving. The evaluation also includes an assessment of psychological symptoms and a review of the person’s medical history. These tests can reveal whether a person has any changes in cognition as compared to other people of similar age and level of education and can aide in the process of identifying the cause of these changes. Doctors can use the results of a neuropsychological evaluation to help determine a diagnosis, assess whether an intervention has or is likely to affect cognitive ability, and direct future treatment plans.
What should patients expect to do during neuropsychological testing?
A neuropsychological evaluation is non-invasive. You will be asked questions, play games, solve puzzles, draw figures, and complete questionnaires about your feelings. Patients should not worry about whether they will "pass" or “fail” the exam. The assessment cannot be passed or failed; instead it only describes how a person performs relative to other people of the same age and level of education.
Licensed psychologists or neuropsychologists are responsible for the evaluation, meaning he or she chooses which tests will be given, interviews the patient, and writes the final report summarizing the results. The tests are sometimes administered and scored by a trained technician called a psychometrist or sometimes by a postdoctoral fellow currently in training under the supervising neuropsychologist.
Are there any particular preparations for this appointment type?
There is nothing particular you need to do to prepare for a neuropsychological evaluation but there are a few recommendations for you to be at your best when you arrive:
- Get a good night's sleep.
- Eat an appropriate meal prior to your appointment.
- Feel free to bring water and/or a snack with you.
- Take all of your medications as usual unless you are directly instructed to do otherwise.
- If you use glasses, contact lenses, or hearing aids, make sure you have them with you.