For Dr. Carmen Pérez-Enríquez, coordinator of the NPS-NRHB Unit at HM CINAC Barcelona, the objective of this new area of specialization is “to respond to a growing need among neurological patients, for whom not only is the diagnosis, but also the ability to provide personalized and efficient treatment. In addition, work will also be done training, informing and accompanying their families. This treatment will be carried out during hospitalization (acute phase), in cases that require it, or on an outpatient basis after being discharged from hospital.
In this sense, a multidisciplinary team will attend to the patient in a single space, which will provide better access and greater comfort. “A comprehensive care circuit has been created, in which the patient who accesses the Neurology Service can be referred directly to the NPS-NRHB Unit for neuropsychological evaluation. Subsequently, having a diagnostic orientation of the case, a team meeting will be held in which the individualized treatment to be followed will be determined: cognitive stimulation or neuropsychological rehabilitation, speech therapy, physiotherapy and/or psychological treatment. Finally, each patient will be monitored, as well as their relatives, and they will be assisted by our professionals according to their needs”, explains Dr. Pérez.
Neuropsychology, the great unknown
Neuropsychology is the great unknown by most of society. This is the specialty that studies the relationship between the brain and behavior, both in healthy people and in those who suffer from some affectation of the Central Nervous System. Among the latter, the team at the new NPS-NRHB Unit at HM CINAC Barcelona will focus primarily on cognitive impairment, cerebrovascular accidents, multiple sclerosis, cranioencephalic injuries – often a consequence of traffic accidents – or neurosurgery ( epilepsy and/or brain tumors).
Neurorehabilitation is focused precisely on recovering this type of injury, although it also plays an important role in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Thus, from the NPS-NRHB Unit of HM CINAC Barcelona, they will work together to offer the patient a personalized follow-up in each phase of the disease. In this way, specialists “will be able to adapt to the different stages that the patient will go through and provide them with a better quality of life in their environment, at a cognitive, functional, emotional, communication and/or swallowing level,” says Dr. Pérez- Enriquez.
Another aspect of care addressed by the Unit related to the field of Neuropsychology lies in the treatment of patients with sequelae derived from prolonged admission, sometimes with mechanical ventilation and treatments in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), which is called syndrome post ICU, and which has gained a certain prominence, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cognitive stimulation programs in healthy people
As far as healthy people are concerned, Dr. Pérez indicates that neuropsychology helps “those who, after episodes of stress, insomnia, mood swings, can perceive memory or concentration problems without there being a neurological disease . These people, especially if they are elderly, can benefit from cognitive stimulation programs to enhance mechanisms that promote new brain connections and help prevent cognitive decline.” In this sense, it should be noted that there are associated risk factors such as cardiovascular problems, diabetes or cholesterol and that, in order to avoid them, it is necessary to promote healthy lifestyle habits, such as a good diet, stress reduction, exercise of exercise and activities contribute to improving cognitive reserve.
Regarding the medium-term objectives of this Neuropsychology and Neurorehabilitation Unit, HM Hospitales plans to incorporate specialists in occupational therapy, social work, and clinical psychology who train family members in adapting the needs of patients to their home environment in order to enhance care at home and thus improve their day-to-day life, especially in chronic phases or advanced stages of neurodegenerative diseases.
NP NEUROPSYCHOLOGY AND NEUROREHABILITATION UNIT.doc