The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke

For Adult Patients

We offer the following programs and services to our patients and their families:






Concrete services including information about :

  • Travel and local information 
  • Transportation services
  • Financial assistance programs
  • Insurance
  • Home healthcare and hospice referrals
  • Respite care and rehabilitation facilities


Neuropsychological evaluations

Supportive counseling
  • One-on-one counseling
  • Family counseling
  • Support groups
  • Grief, loss, bereavement counseling

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Adult Neuropsychology Services

Patients who have brain tumors may experience problems with memory, attention and concentration, or other cognitive functions. These problems may be due to the tumor itself or due to the side effects of the treatments for the tumor. The best way to know for sure if these difficulties are significant is to undergo a neuropsychological evaluation. The results of the evaluation not only show if there are deficits, but in which cognitive areas they are present and to what degree. 

What is a neuropsychological evaluation?
A neuropsychological evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of neurocognitive functioning across multiple domains (memory, attention, higher level processing, mood, etc.). The resulting report outlines deficits and strengths and offers recommendations for future treatment, use of compensatory strategies, and follow-up testing.

What are the benefits of neuropsychological evaluation?
Neuropsychological results can help your neuro-oncologist and radiation oncologist decide which treatments might be most appropriate for you. While treating the disease is the primary focus, your medical team will want to choose treatments that reduce the risk of causing you cognitive problems. Having a neuropsychological evaluation early in your diagnosis and treatment can provide information about your baseline functioning (before treatment). These results can be very helpful in monitoring potential recovery and/or decline related to the tumor and/or treatments. Many cognitive problems caused by the tumor or treatments may improve with the use of particular medications or cognitive rehabilitation. The best way to know if a treatment is helping with cognitive difficulties is to measure the improvement with neuropsychological testing.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a neuropsychological evaluation? 
Most insurance companies cover the cost of neuropsychological evaluation. We will assist you in obtaining pre-authorization for this service.

How do I know if I should have a neuropsychological evaluation?
Healthcare providers at The Brain Tumor Center at Duke consider a neuropsychological evaluation to be part of the standard of care. You should discuss with your Brain Tumor Center healthcare provider whether or not a neuropsychologial evaluation might be helpful for you. If you are having problems with memory, concentration, or your mood, it is very important that you report these changes to your healthcare provider. You may also contact the Brain Tumor Center's Neuropsychologist, Dr. Renee Raynor, Ph.D.

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Services for Children of Adult Patients

The diagnosis of a brain tumor impacts every member of the family, including children.

A child’s normal development and coping  during times of illness can be disrupted by

  • anxiety and stress related to disruption of normal routines
  • separation from parents or primary caregivers
  • confusion about the illness itself
  • fear of the unknown

Education and supportive interventions can reduce the stress experienced by children and families, and enhance their abilities to talk about and cope with the illness experience. The Brain Tumor Center at Duke provides support and education to children and adults in families impacted by the diagnosis of a brain tumor in an adult family member. Children’s support services are provided by a child life specialist.

A child life specialist is a professional who

  • focuses on the emotional and developmental needs of children in families who are facing serious medical conditions
  • uses play and other forms of communication to reduce the stress associated with an illness experience
  • facilitates more positive communication and coping in children, teens, and families
  • helps the parent or primary caregiver take the lead in promoting positive coping and development of children
  • helps the parent or primary caregiver maintain honest, age appropriate communication with children to minimize psychological trauma related to the illness experience

Services provided at The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center include:

  • support and education to patients, their siblings, and/or adult family members regarding:
    • children’s understanding of illness at different ages
    • talking with children about the illness and treatment in an age appropriate and honest manner
    • knowing when a child might benefit from getting ongoing professional support in the home community.
  • age appropriate support, education and activities to children and teens regarding:
    • brain tumors
    • treatments
    • changes in family life related to the illness experience
    • emotions related to the serious illness of a family member. 
  • support and information related to end of life issues, grief, and referrals to bereavement support services in the home community.
  • information on local Durham resources for family outings, entertainment, child friendly restaurants, etc.

To obtain children’s support services, please email Jean Hartford-Todd, Certified Child Life Specialist, or call her at (919) 684-2913.

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Support Groups:

Brain Tumor Support Group for Adult Patients and Family Members — We offer periodic support groups for patients and familys to share experiences and gain information about medical and emotional issues.

For more information, send an email to Maggie McDermott, MSW, LCSW

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Peer Support Matching Program — The diagnosis of a brain tumor can be confusing and overwhelming. The Peer Support Program matches people with another brain tumor patient, caregiver, or survivor so they can connect with someone who has been through a similar experience and understands what you are going through. For more information...




Transitions Program — Patients and family members at The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke can receive helpful information about care at the end of life through our Transitions program. The Transitions packet contains information that will help to ease the transition from curative treatment to hospice care. Included in each packet is a booklet to help parents talk with their children about the challenges and changes the family will face while caring for a loved one with a terminal illness.

For information on how to use children’s books to facilitate discussion between you and your child on issues such as illness and grief read Books As A Resource for Children.

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