Since November 2013, Pinehurst Neuropsychology has been providing the highest quality neuropsychological and therapy services to its community. The practice has grown significantly since it opened, expanding from a 900 to a 5,000 square foot space and also bringing in additional providers (Dr. MaryBeth Bailar and Heather Tippens, LPC) to better serve the growing demand for its services.
As a field, neuropsychology deals with brain disorders and changes such as dementia, stroke, and traumatic brain injury as well as the psychological issues that can accompany these, such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety. When patients come into the practice, the Pinehurst Neuropsychology team performs a skilled assessment to determine the root of the patients’ issues in order to help patients work through them. Evaluation is a thorough process and includes a clinical interview with the patient and a loved one, a review of medical records and comprehensive cognitive and mood testing generally taking 3 appointments and 5-7 hours.
The providers use testing to draw conclusions, but they also gain a more holistic understanding of their patients, taking into account factors such as patients’ unique medical, social and personal history. Ultimately, this has allowed the practice to become very successful in making helpful, personalized recommendations to its patients that optimize brain health, independent living and quality of life.
The practice hopes to break down traditional stereotypes related to what a person thinks about when going to see a ”memory doctor.” Pinehurst Neuropsychology has a spa-like environment that conveys warmth, kindness, and respect, so that patients can feel comfortable and at-ease throughout their visit.
“We’re pretty unique,” says Pinehurst Neuropsychology provider Karen D. Sullivan, Ph.D., ABPP who moved to North Carolina with her husband and two young daughters from Boston, Massachusetts. “Dr. Bailar and I are the only neuropsychologist in Pinehurst, and the only board certified provider of this kind in about 50 miles of Pinehurst.”
Because Pinehurst has both a large military community and community of older adults, Pinehurst Neuropsychology is a perfect fit for the area. The practice can care for retired and active-duty military members and can also provide support for their spouses.
“There’s an incredible need with active-duty and retired veterans for neuropsychology,” says Dr. Sullivan. Issues often relate to traumatic brain injury, and patients “don’t know if these are long-term symptoms from a mechanical brain injury or PTSD.” As Dr. Sullivan points out, “That question is best answered by a neuropsychologist. Our job is to take a very detailed look at the persons history and symptoms to figure out if that’s the case.”
The practice also provides support for older adults in the community. The clinical care needs of this group often relate to age-related memory disorders, such as dementia. Dr. Sullivan says that the practice has appreciated “a community of caregivers that have been so supportive,” and that this appreciation has been returned. “Before us, there was no doctor or medical practice who was advocating for the mental health needs of caregivers, I’m very proud we serve the community in this way” she says.
The practice does a large amount of community outreach as well, giving various talks in the area, including ‘Memory Mondays’ at the Moore County Senior Enrichment Center, a program that focuses on brain issues relevant to older adults.
It’s unique to have such an advanced practice operating in a small town, but incredible healthcare is not a new concept for Pinehurst. Pinehurst Neuropsychology is just one of many advanced healthcare options in the area, and it is a reflection of the area’s greater commitment to quality of life.
“I really do think there’s a high quality of life in Pinehurst and Moore County," says Dr. Sullivan.
"For me, coming from Boston, the cost of living is 40% of what my tiny one -bedroom in Boston was. There’s never any traffic, we have a lot of land, [and] my kids love the Pinehurst public school system.” As she puts it, “All the ingredients are there for a wonderful life both professionally and personally.”