Madonna’s Department of Neuropsychology supports people who have had a stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury or other conditions as they worked to reclaim their lives and participate in the community. The Neuropsychology staff includes rehabilitation psychologists and board-certified clinical neuropsychologists, with specialty areas in forensic assessment, mild brain injury, youth sports concussion, pain management, pediatrics, behavioral management, disability counseling, neurofeedback training, and many others.
A neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist with advanced training in how behavior and cognitive abilities are related to brain structure. A neuropsychological assessment includes standardized testing in memory, attention, reasoning, and other skills. Test scores are compared to norms, usually corrected for age, gender, and education, allowing for accurate judgments about the extent of cognitive impairment and the patient’s residual strengths. Test results can aid in recommendations for easing the return to home, community, work and school.
Many rehabilitation centers outsource neuropsychology services. At Madonna, a member of the Neuropsychology Department is an integrated member of nearly every inpatient rehab team. Psychologists attend daily rehab team meetings, actively participating in the treatment at every stage of recovery. Psychologists meet frequently with patients and their families as they undergo the rigors of rehabilitation, providing education and emotional support.
Madonna’s therapy teams understand the crucial importance of a holistic approach, integrating the mind, body, and spirit. Psychologists actively work with patients to address difficult problems, such as substance abuse, altered sexual functioning, and changing life roles. Madonna’s philosophy is to address these issues early in recovery, rather than wait for them to emerge later as serious obstacles. Psychologists are in a position to approach such problems in a knowledgeable, diplomatic, and experienced manner.
As the population of elderly Americans has grown, so too has the increase in dementias, such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. The Mini-Mental Status Exam and related brief assessments are often insufficiently sensitive to detect some forms of dementia, particularly in the early stages. Neuropsychological assessment can be a key part of the diagnostic process.
News stories have recently highlighted the potential long-term disabilities that can be associated with repeated mild brain traumas. “Second impact syndromes,” in which a repeated brain injury proves devastating, have led to the adoption of stricter guidelines for the detection and management of concussion. For several years, Madonna’s Neuropsychology Department has joined with local school systems to assist in the assessment and treatment of sports concussions.
Mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are not confined to the athletic field. Common causes include falls, work accidents, and motor vehicle accidents. While most individuals who experience mild TBI recover uneventfully, for others a mild TBI can become troubling or even disabling in the long term. Research shows that the ‘post-concussion syndrome’ experienced by some mild TBI survivors is a serious concern, but can be preventable. Early intervention, including assessment, support, and education, has been shown to reduce the risk of complications from mild TBI.
Madonna offers a Mild TBI Comprehensive Assessment, a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of this condition, which includes neuropsychologists on the team.