Fairfax Hospital Center for Brain Health
The Fairfax Hospital Center for Brain Health is an outpatient-focused service that provides psychological, psycho-educational, neuropsychological, and brain imaging assessment services for diagnostic, treatment planning, functional and behavioral purposes in a private clinic setting.
Our Assessment Services
The Fairfax Hospital Center for Brain Health is a resource for the community that continues the Hospital’s long-standing dedication—which began with the Hospital’s founding in 1930—to provide care in an environment that promotes lifelong holistic wellness.
Because of the more manageable scale of the Hospital and the Center for Brain Health, we are able to tailor assessment services to meet the individual where they are in an environment that can be less stressful and more refined than other hospital and clinic settings.
Psychiatric and Psychological Assessment
There are several signs and symptoms that might be an indication a psychological evaluation could be helpful. These include the following:
- Changes in mood
- Social withdrawal
- Changes in your sleep or eating habits
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble performing your usual tasks
- A lack of interest in activities you previously enjoyed
These tests help providers look at your attention span and how well you concentrate on things. Other areas covered by neuropsychological testing include:
- Your ability to think, understand, learn and remember (cognition)
- Short and long-term memory
- Motor function (walking, coordination, etc.)
- Perception (how well you take-in what you see or read)
- Problem-solving and decision-making
- Verbal ability
There are a number of disorders that may lead to a referral for neuropsychological assessment. Such an assessment can help characterize the precise nature of cognitive and functional deficits, allowing interventions to be tailored to target those specific areas for rehabilitation and medical intervention. Some examples would be:
- Acquired brain injury (concussion and traumatic brain injury)
- Cerebrovascular disease and stroke
- Epilepsy and seizure disorder
- Dementia and mild cognitive impairment
- Movement disorders (e.g., Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease)
- Systemic diseases affecting the brain or central nervous system (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus, demyelinating disease such as multiple sclerosis)
- Genetic diseases affecting the central nervous system
- Mood disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder)
- Brain tumor
- Contact sport baseline evaluations and acute assessments
Sometimes a student’s school will suggest that a psycho-educational assessment could be helpful and sometimes a student and their caregiver(s) may seek assessment to support accommodation requests at school or for standardized testing, such as college admission tests.
Other times, a student in need of an IEP will need an assessment. For individuals 13 years-old and older, we offer tailored psycho-educational assessments for all of these purposes.
These assessments can involve aspects similar to clinical evaluations (above) and generally involve a standardized assessment of an individual’s intellectual and academic abilities.
It is administered by a psychologist or psychometrist and combined with clinical interviews, observations, and historical records to help understand how a person learns, identify if and how they’re struggling and recommend strategies to help them learn better.
It measures overall aptitude and academic achievement around core skills, such as reading, writing and math.
It involves a number of techniques, including pencil and paper activities, verbal responses and the evaluation of motor skills (e.g., drawing, playing with blocks). The assessment varies based on an individual’s age.
A number of legal issues require a psychological evaluation of an individual. Some of the types of evaluations our clinicians work on are:
- Competency to stand trial
- Competence to waive Miranda
- Competence to testify
- Competence to consent/refuse medical treatment
- Guardian/conservator evaluations
- Not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI)
- Guilty by mentally ill (GBMI)
- Diminished capacity evaluations
- Dissimulation and non-credible presentation assessments
- Civil competencies
- Violence risk assessments
- Fitness for duty evaluations
Diagnostic and Functional Brain Imaging
Fairfax Hospital physicians affiliated with the Center for Brain Health can order diagnostic and functional brain imaging to assist with clarifying and managing complex symptom presentations through psychopharmacological and other interventions.
One imaging technique we consider is Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT). This is a brain imaging study that allows us to look at how the human brain is functioning in real time. This is quite different from and MRI or CT scan, both of which look at structure, or anatomy, of the brain.
SPECT tells us how well the brain is functioning in each area. Specifically, it shows us areas where the brain activity is higher or lower than we would expect.
SPECT is a well-researched, established technique for use with conditions such as traumatic brain injury, dementia, seizures/epilepsy and toxic exposures.
Though it has traditionally been considered investigational for mental health purposes, there is a growing body of scientific literature showing that it can be helpful for both diagnostic and treatment purposes for multiple mental health conditions.
Most recently, after a review of recent research, the Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine published specific guidelines for its use in ADHD, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, PTSD and substance abuse. SPECT is not used to replace clinical judgement, but is, instead, used to provide additional information to inform our diagnoses and help guide treatment decisions.
Reach out to the Fairfax Hospital Center for Brain Health by calling 425-403-8888 to learn more about our assessment services.