Clinical Cognitive Assessments

The format for each assessment is a series of questions that test attention, concentration, orientation, immediate and delayed memory, higher cortical function including praxis, perception and language and other executive function to varying extents.

They can be used as part of the initial assessment and also to reassess impairment over time.

The instruments look to show cognitive change for an individual and so the rule in/rule out threshold can be affected by pre-morbid intelligence and education.

All four require the test to be administered in the patient’s first language and most require reading and writing skills, so they may not be applicable to all patients.

A comparison of the features of each assessment is presented on the next page.

Example assessments

NICE recognises the following clinical cognitive assessments, and links to these examples can be found on the Web Resources page of this session:

  • Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE)
  • 6-item Cognitive Impairment Test (6-CIT)
  • The General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition (GPCOG) (Athens user name required)
  • 7-minute screen

In addition, a Test Your Memory (TYM) screening test for Alzheimer’s disease has been developed since the NICE guidance was published. A link to this can also be found on the Web Resources page of this session.