Comprehensive Memory and Wellness Evaluation
Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing
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How do I know if I need a memory evaluation?
Many people worry about whether the memory changes they notice in themselves or someone they care about are a result of normal aging, or something more serious. A comprehensive evaluation gets to the bottom of this question. The following is a list of signs that an evaluation is warranted:
- Memory changes that disrupt daily life, such as repetition of questions
- Challenges with planning or solving problems, such as keeping track of monthly bills
- Confusion with time or place, such as missing appointments
- Increased frequency of misplacing things
- Difficulties in speaking or conversation, often due to a lost train of thought
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Poor decisions when managing money
- Difficulties with driving
- Increased depression or anxiety
Why pursue a comprehensive evaluation?
If a person is experiencing changes that are greater than normal for his or her age group, the evaluation can help identify the problem and the cause as well as potential treatments. There are many possible causes for changes in memory and other decline in thinking skills (such as vascular disease, sleep apnea, depression, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and many more). It is important to understand the cause of a problem in order to treat it optimally and, to support functioning at individual’s highest potential, and to increase the quality of life.
If you are concerned about yourself or someone you care about, early, accurate diagnosis is the first step towards appropriate treatment.
Comprehensive memory and wellness evaluations are conducted by an interprofessional team of geriatric specialists in consultation with the patient’s personal physician(s)/healthcare provider(s). The evaluation addresses the nature, extent, and cause of memory problems. This service is covered by Medicare or other insurance; financial assistance is often available. Individuals can self-refer. Family and physician/ healthcare provider referrals are also accepted and welcomed.
Evaluation typically occurs over 3 appointments, scheduled within a 2-3 week period:
1. The first appointment is scheduled with a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner for an extensive, memory-focused history and physical assessment. This visit also includes a review of all current medications, a screening of emotional factors that may affect memory, a screening of cognitive function, including memory, and psychosocial evaluation. Family members/caregivers also have the opportunity to meet with one of our social work-team members to dialogue their concerns and questions. The Nurse Practitioner will work with the patient's existing healthcare team to obtain necessary laboratory work and neuro-imaging studies. If medically appropriate, the patient is then referred to a Neuropsychologist for further evaluation.
2. The second appointment with the Neuropsychologist is for in-depth cognitive/memory and psychological testing. This process assists in the diagnosis and clarifies the nature of the patient's cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
3. The third visit is a feedback meeting with all parties, including patient, family member(s), and / or significant other(s) to review the test results and recommendations. Evaluation reports are then forwarded to the patient's treating provider(s).
The patient and his or her family are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their provider to review results and recommendations. A neurological evaluation is strongly recommended before or after our memory and wellness evaluation process.
What to bring: A list of all medications and supplements, reading glasses, and hearing aids when applicable.
Insurance coverage: The comprehensive evaluation is covered by Medicare and secondary insurances. Patients are responsible for applicable deductibles and co-payments. Patients not covered by Medicare should consult their individual plan for coverage.
An On-line Patient Registration Package is available for you:
Please refer to the “Forms” sections. To expedite the registration process, you can download the following documents and fill them out prior to the first appointment:
- Consent Form
- Legal Consent Form
- Patient Responsibility Form
- Provider Release Form
- General Release Form
These forms are in PDF Format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free of charge at: (http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html).