Once early symptoms of cognitive impairment have been identified, tools and resources in this section will assist in furthering your assessment and to help determine whether a full diagnostic assessment is needed.
Suggested: The most effective, comprehensive, and evidence-based information.
Additional: Other approaches physicians and other caregivers may find useful.
Suggested Physician Resources
The Mini-Cog™ is an instrument for assessing cognitive impairment. It can be effectively used with minimal training. It consists of a three-item recall test for memory and a scored clock-drawing test. The results are evaluated by a health provider to determine if a full-diagnostic assessment is needed.
Geriatric Depression Scale(16 KB PDF)
The Geriatric Depression Scale is brief survey instrument that can be used to initially assess depression in older adults. It should be used in conjunction with other assessment vehicles when evaluating the full extent of cognitive impairment.
Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA)(dementia.ie)
The Montreal Cognitive Assessment is a quick and easy instrument that can be adapted for use in the clinical setting. It is easy to administer and score, and the results can be interpreted by the health provider with minimal training.
High-Yield History Questions for Addressing Cognitive Disorders(www.alz.org)
The High-yield History Questions for Addressing Cognitive Disorders is a tool from the Alzheimer’s Association. It can be used to identify changes in memory, language, behavior, and functional performance of the patient.
Additional Physician Resources
The Saint Louis University Mental Status (SLUMS) Examination(aging.slu.edu)
The SLUMS examination is brief test designed to measure a patient’s abilities in orientation, executive function, memory, and attention. Evaluation of the exam can be used to determine if a full-diagnostic assessment is needed.
General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition Screening Test (CPCoG)(www.alz.org)
The General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition Screening Test is a cognitive impairment screening tool designed for use in primary care.
The Animal Naming exercise is a secondary test of cognitive impairment where patients who can identify 21 or more animals in one minute are probably not at risk. Patients who identify 15 or less have been shown to be cognitively impaired.
Memory Impairment Screen (MIS)(www.alz.org)
The MIS is a quick screening tool to assess memory. It can be used as a preliminary screening test, or in conjunction with other screening tools to evaluate the cognition of a patient who has exhibited possible impairment in their thinking and recall functions.
AD8 Dementia Screening Interview(www.alz.org)
The AD8 Dementia Screening Interview is an eight-question interview, which distinguishes individuals who have very mild dementia from those without dementia. This tool is based on individual decline and is a valid and reliable screening tool for dementia. Its use is granted by Washington University for clinical care purposes in family medical care.
Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), 2nd Edition™(www4.parinc.com)
The Mini-Mental State Examination, 2nd Edition™ application allows users to administer, score, and share patient results faster and easier than using pencil and paper assessments. The application is available for smartphones and tablets, and there is a fee associated with using the tool.
Functional Activities Questionnaire(www.healthcare.uiowa.edu)
The Functional Activities Questionnaire calculates the extent of the patient’s ability to engage in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). The questionnaire is useful to assess and monitor functional changes over time. It is answered by the patient, family, or caregiver to indicate the presence of cognitive impairment.
Database of Instruments to Detect Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults(www.nia.nih.gov)
Compiled by the National Institute on Aging, this database provides links to more than 100 instruments that can be used to detect cognitive impairment in older patients.