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Nurse Pract. 1990 Nov;15(11):18-28.

A review of screening instruments for assessing cognition and mental status in older adults.

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College of Education, University of Texas, Austin.


Older adults in non-psychiatric acute and long-term care settings need to be screened routinely for cognitive function and mental status by clinicians and health care providers. Screening instruments increasingly are being used in order to evaluate programs, implement clinical decisions and conduct research. The purpose, scope and depth of needed assessment guides the selection of the screening instrument. This article critically reviews 11 screening instruments used to assess cognitive function and mental status in older adults: Dementia of the Alzheimer Type Inventory, Brief Cognitive Rating Scale, Blessed Dementia Scale, Cognitive Capacity Screening Examination, Cognitive Levels Scale, FROMAJE, Global Deterioration Scale, Mini-Mental State Exam, Clinical Dementia Rating, Mental Status Questionnaire and the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire. Since cognitive impairment is a broad construct, the descriptors used to search the literature were the following: age-associated memory impairment, acute confusional states, Alzheimer's disease, cognition, confusion, delirium, dementia, mental status, multi-infarct dementia, Pick's disease, primary degenerative dementia, pseudodementia and senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type. The Brief Cognitive Rating Scale and the Dementia of the Alzheimer Type Inventory are the only two instruments capable of distinguishing Alzheimer's from other dementias, and the CDR is the only instrument that assesses hobbies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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