Hospital for Special Care's Center for Cognitive Health hires neuropsychologist to lead department

Published on Wednesday, 29 September 2021 10:46
Written by Ciara Hooks


NEW BRITAIN – Dr. Anthony Rinaldi, a neuropsychologist, has joined the Hospital for Special Care’s Center for Cognitive Health.

Rinaldi will help continue to grow the center and look at patient care from the neuropsychological perspective.

“Working with a lot of the other disciplines, like the speech pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist and the other neuropsychologists here at the hospital, putting our heads together, making sure that we are keeping track of our patients and providing them with the best care possible; talking about ways we can continue to improve and evolve the services,” he said. “I’m the lead figure in that right now.”

Rinaldi started at the Center for Cognitive Health in June of this year.

“This is very much in my realm and something I’ve been looking forward to returning to and to be able to continue to grow was ideal, so I had to jump at this opportunity,” he said.

The transition has been seamless for Rinaldi, and he shared he has been welcomed wholeheartedly throughout the hospital.

“There is always an adjustment to new responsibilities and new systems, though my colleagues have been extremely supportive, and I have come up to speed rapidly, which will help the Center for Cognitive Health continue its growth during this change,” he said.

The Hospital for Special Care’s Center for Cognitive Health specializes in supporting individuals and families coping with memory loss or other cognitive changes related to stroke or other vascular events, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other conditions. The center assesses the individual’s cognitive functioning and makes tailored, multidisciplinary recommendations to address associated functional changes, emotional challenges and family concerns.

“They are either referred for neuropsychological evaluation, which is usually the patient’s entrance into the center, and then either myself or one of our other neuropsychologists will evaluate the patient to determine whether the cognitive concern represent a condition to include some mild cognitive repairment or something greater, or whether more subjective cognitive concern age related positive decline,” Rinaldi said.

Center for Cognitive Health patients can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy sessions. These sessions can enhance emotional regulation, provide methods to manage difficult behavior and help reduce caregiver burnout. The center’s speech/language pathologists work alongside physical and occupational therapists to improve cognitive and communication abilities, address swallowing/feeding issues and maximize daily functional abilities. The center’s multidisciplinary team aims to maximize the patient’s physical, emotional, cognitive, linguistic and daily activity abilities, with care that evolves as their condition changes, to include providing support and resources for family/caregivers.

“I think we are unique in that we do have truly multidisciplinary approach to patient care and providing multiple services under the same roof, literally in the same hospital setting,” Rinaldi said. “We can help the patient manage specialties all at the same hospital, and because we all work together, we communicate, collaborate with each other, have access to charts, there’s an ability to share a lot of information and provide high quality seamless care.”

Rinaldi said the center plans to add a licensed clinical social worker to the team as well.

The center is approximately returned to pre-pandemic levels, if not a little greater, according to Rinaldi.

“There was an initial slight decline in referrals as folks were in lockdown in the beginning stages a little over a year and a half ago. We initially provided a lot of Telehealth therapy to a degree and a lot of folks were interested in that,” he said.

Rinaldi was born and raised in Connecticut. He finished his doctorate degree out of the University of Hartford, pre-doctoral internship at the Veterans Affair Medical Center in Upstate New York and did his two-year post-doctoral residency with a clinical nurse in clinical neuropsychology at the Bay Pines Veterans Affair Hospital. Prior to landing his position at HFSC, he was an outpatient neuropsychologist at Gaylord Hospital for a year and a half.

“I am confident that my experiences, combined with the hospital’s resources, incredible support from the Kelser Foundation and our other community partners, and HSC’s passion will be able to maximize patient experience in the Center for Cognitive Health,” he said. “I am excited at what the future holds and look forward to being an integral part of HSC’s commitment to quality patient care.”

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Wednesday, 29 September 2021 10:46. Updated: Thursday, 30 September 2021 10:52.