Neuropsychology and speech therapy
Neuropsychology studies the links between the brain, mental functions and behaviour. Brain damage (following an accident or a stroke, for example) can lead to dysfunctions such as memory or concentration problems, speech problems, unusual behaviour, etc...
The role of the neuropsychologists is to establish a diagnostic and to propose a rehabilitation programme based on recent progress in the neuroscience domains and by using scientifically founded methods.
At the CRR, some neuropsychologists are also speech therapists. They are specialised in assessing and taking into care aphasic patients (suffering from speech problems following brain damage) and also take part in the multidisciplinary group assuring the assessment and treatment of deglutition (swallowing).
Regarding assessment, neuropsychologists establish which functions are troubled and those which are preserved to then make a diagnostic. They can also answer questions concerning the return to a professional activity, driving a car, and impairment of judgement.
Regarding re-education, neuropsychologists and speech therapists base their decisions on results from examinations to then propose the appropriate care needed to the patient, in order to render him as independent as possible and in coordination with the CCR's multidisciplinary team's objectives. Treatment works on training the patient's disturbed functions or by getting round the problem by proposing compensating strategies. Normally, the patient's family is also met and given advice.
Neuropsychology and its domains of activity
The department accounts for around ten neuropsychologists and speech therapists, of which several have the title of 'Psychologist specialised in neuropsychology FSP'. The department is recognised by 'ASNP' as an 'A' institution offering last-cry training supervision. A music therapist is also part of the staff.
As the neurological patients of the CRR are mainly brain trauma patients, the neuropsychology department has developed a particular expertise in specific problems affecting these patients : management and rehabilitation of behavioural problems, assessment of executive functions and of their repercussions on family and professional life.
The domains of activity are as follows :
a rich and diverse in-patient activity (head and brain damage trauma, strokes, tumours, ...), destined in priority to patients staying in the CRR, but also in other specialised departments of the 'Hôpital du Valais' (neurology, neurosurgery, internal medicine) and other neighbouring medical establishments.
participation in multidisciplinary appraisals in the out-patient service of the CRR
out-patient consultations on request from regional doctors or insurance companies, including conditions as diverse as dementia, multiple sclerosis, alcohol induced illnesses, etc…
organisation of weekly journal club and seminars
follow-up of student projects, development of innovative actions, collaboration with research staff.