Frequently Asked Questions
What is a neuropsychologist?
A neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist who has obtained additional education and training in neuroanatomy, physiology, and standardized assessment.
What is neurocognitive rehabilitation?
Brain tumors can have lasting effects on language, motor, and cognitive abilities, impacting one’s ability to work and interact with others. Neurocognitive rehabilitation utilizes a combination of treatment strategies to address the various language, motor, cognitive, and psychological impairments that can be caused by brain tumors.
What should one expect during the Neurocognitive Care Services consultation?
The Neurocognitive Care Services consultation happens in two phases, an assessment phase and then a treatment phase. The assessment includes talking with patients, and their loved ones, about the patient’s medical history, cognitive and emotional concerns, and goals. Thereafter, we will complete a series of neuropsychological tests to give us a better idea which rehabilitation strategies may help. After that, results are shared, and recommendations are given on how their concerns can be addressed. During rehabilitation, we often focus on practicing cognitive exercises, educating patients about strategies to help them to work around their difficulties, and implementing those strategies into their daily life.
What type of assessments are a part of a neuropsychological test?
Neuropsychological tests evaluate brain functioning in several areas including intelligence, executive functions (such as planning, abstraction, conceptualization), attention, memory, language, perception, sensorimotor functions, motivation, mood state and emotion, quality of life, and personality styles. The areas addressed in an individual’s evaluation are determined by the patient’s complaints, symptoms, and observations made during your testing.
Most of the tests are pencil and paper type tests. Neuropsychological tests are standardized, meaning that they are given in the same manner to all patients and scored in a similar manner. Although individual scores are important, the neuropsychologist looks at all the data from the evaluation to determine a pattern of cognitive strengths and weaknesses and, in turn, to understand more about how the brain is functioning.
Can one fail a neuropsychological test?
Patients should not worry about whether they will “pass” the tests. The tests cannot be passed or failed; instead they describe how well a person performs relative to its peers.
What will one learn from a neuropsychological test?
A neuropsychological test can help identify one’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses. This information helps neuro-oncologists and other healthcare professionals guide rehabilitative plans.
What does the assessment process look like?
The neurocognitive assessment takes place over two to three hours; sometimes this occurs over a series of appointments. During that time, we sit down with patients, and their loved ones, to talk about the patient’s medical history, cognitive and emotional concerns, and goals. Thereafter, we will complete cognitive and emotional measures to give us a better idea which rehabilitation strategies may help. After that, we share the results and give recommendations on how their concerns can be addressed.
Does one’s caregiver/family member have to stay for the entire appointment?
We encourage you to bring in any family member or close friend who is involved in your ongoing care to attend the first part of your appointment. However, this is not required. If one does choose to bring in a family member/caregiver, we will request that they leave the room during the second half of the appointment when the formal testing occurs. This will take approximately one hour. The office has a comfortable waiting area with Wi-Fi.
How does one get their test results?
Results are shared during a feedback session. Usually, these sessions are done over a series of appointments either in person or over video and scheduled two weeks after testing. The feedback sessions last about 1 hour. During this time, your neuropsychologist will explain the testing results, and go over recommendations.
How does one prepare for testing?
These are not tests that one can study for, but there are several things that one can do to prepare for your visit.
- If any questionnaires were sent to you, complete them, and send them back to the office as directed
- Send any prior neuropsychological and or cognitive assessments to the office before your first visit
- Get a good night’s rest beforehand
- Eat breakfast or lunch prior to the appointment
- Take your medications as prescribed
- Remember to bring corrective lenses and/or assistive hearing devices if needed
What should one bring to the appointment?
- Insurance card(s)
- Any prescription eyeglasses or hearing devices
Where does the appointment take place?
In-person visits take place at 400 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143 on the 8th floor. Feedback and follow-up appointments are often video visits.
Do I need a referral for Neurocognitive Care Services?
Yes, a referral from your UCSF neuro-oncologist is needed.