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The Importance of Neuropsychological Testing for Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injuries

In addition to controlling the functioning of the human body’s basic systems such as, digestion, heart rate, breathing, hormones and the immune system, the brain controls everything that a person does, thinks or says. When one sustains a brain injury, that person’s physical and mental abilities, as well as his or her bodily functions may change dramatically.

Generally speaking,  the more severe the injury, the more serious and long-lasting changes in functioning are most likely to be.  Some changes caused by brain injury may seem subtle, but will end up having a major impact on the way a person lives his or her life, and on its quality.

Traumatic brain injuries occur when the head forcefully hits an object or something, such as a bullet, passes through the skull. Brain injuries can occur as a result of falls, motor vehicle accidents, blows to the head, and by many other causes.

Before treating a patient with a brain injury, it is important that doctors be able to sort through many different variables before deciding the best approach to treatment. The first course of action, is to enlist a neuropsychologist to conduct neuropsychological testing for traumatic brain injury patients. This should occur as soon as possible after the accident, especially if there are signs of cognitive impairment. However, it should be noted that some brain injury symptoms lack outward physical manifestations.  This often results in patients not receiving appropriate care and treatment for the cognitive, physical, social and psychological impairments that can occur.

What Happens After Sustaining a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Research suggests that traumatic brain injuries can adversely effect one’s behaviors, abilities and emotions. After sustaining a brain injury, one might find that remembering things is more difficult.  He or she might struggle with finding the right words to say during a conversation, or no longer have the ability to concentrate, or to do more than one simple task at a time.

Often, people with traumatic brain injuries may have problems completing simple math problems. They may also have trouble with spelling, or with understanding what they have read immediately after reading it. Traumatic brain injuries are also often result in emotional problems such as,  depression, frustration or anger control.

The role of the Neuropsychologist

A neuropsychologist is a doctor who is specially trained to understand how the brain works, and how its capacity to operate effectively is affected by injury or illness. For instance, it is important to find out whether or not the patient can manage his or her finances, or take medications in the correct dosages. The neuropsycologist uses various tests to assess whether or not the patient can live safely alone, and whether it is alright for him or her to drive, or return to work and normal day-to-day activities.

Depending on the patient’s condition, tests vary from written versions, to tests that involve physical activities, to verbal tests. Once an assessment has been conducted and carefully evaluated, the neuropsychologist is able to make educated suggestions for treatment plans that are most likely to work.

Neurological Report Writing

Once the neuropsychologist has conducted the appropriate tests and has assessed them carefully, a detailed neurological report is written, that gives caretakers and the patient important information found in the testing instruments, including a diagnostic conclusion.The report also provides information about the patient’s strengths, weaknesses, emotional well being, as well as any limitations that may apply.

Depending on the particular patient’s evaluation, the neuropsychologist may recommend specific therapies to improve speech or memory. The doctor may prescribe therapy to help improve the patient’s mood. He or she may also determine that bringing in other professionals may be called for, such as a physical therapist or a cognitive therapist or speech therapist.

It is common practice to send copies of the report to both the patient and the attending physician.  An appointment is usually set up afterward, to discuss the results with both parties. This consultation can help both the attending physician and the patient better understand the scope of the injury and the steps that can lead to recovery. The three parties work together to formulate a plan for the most effective treatment modality.

The Legal Aspects of Traumatic Brain Injuries

When one sustains a traumatic brain injury, insurance companies will frequently make an offer to settle a claim for far less than the patient requires or deserves.  It is, therefore, important not to accept any offers from insurance companies until an attorney has been consulted.

Unlike the typical insurance company, a competent personal injury lawyer will look after the client’s best interests, seeking such remedies as medical reimbursement and compensation for lost wages, not only immediately after the accident, but for any future income loss.  A good personal injury lawyer will also make sure the client is compensated for any pain and suffering resulting from the injury, and will offer protection for the client’s financial interests, as they related to the brain injury.

Contact Swor & Gatto in St. Paul, Minnesota

If you live in the Twin Cities area and have sustained a traumatic brain injury, or if you have a family member in need of legal representation for a traumatic brain injury, please contact us to set up an appointment.  The law firm of Swor & Gatto has a long history of service and success, and can assure your legal needs will be met, and that you will receive the compensation that is due.