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J Forensic Sci. 2009 Jul;54(4):943-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2009.01047.x. Epub 2009 Apr 17.

A clinical study of competency to consent to hospitalization and treatment in geriatric inpatients.

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Department of Psychiatry, New York Medical College, New York, NY, USA.


This study used a Competency Questionnaire modified for medical surgical patients (CQ-Med). Twenty-nine patients (ages 65-94 years) admitted to a geriatric medicine unit were studied. Along with the CQ-Med, patients were administered several WAIS-R subtests, the Blessed Dementia Scale (BDS), and Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE). Additionally, a blind forensic evaluation for competency to consent to hospitalization and treatment was performed for the purpose of validation of the CQ-Med. Results of the study found that, as expected, increased age was correlated with decreasing performance on the CQ-Med and decreased findings of competence by clinical exam. However, there was great variability within each age group, demonstrating individual differences in the progress of declining competency. CQ-Med scores also correlated well with the WAIS-R subtest raw and scaled scores. Scores on the MMSE and BDS were less well correlated. The CQ-Med may be a useful adjunct in assessing declining competency in geriatric patients.

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