Patient’s History

The patient may be able to give the history themselves, but it is important to obtain a collateral history to compensate for any lack of insight.

Carers and relatives may be the only source of information if the patient is unable to communicate clearly.

Important features in the history will include:

  • The acute symptoms and preceding events
  • Rate and pattern of decline
  • Areas of impairment i.e. memory, speech, motor, behaviour, decision making etc.
  • The presence of other symptoms i.e. hallucinations, delusions and depression
  • Previous medical history particularly of CVD, Parkinson’s disease and risk factors including hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes, smoking and mental illness
  • A careful drug and alcohol history
  • A clear social history addressing how they and the carer are managing

Learning Bite

A full and collaborative history is required when assessing patients with dementia to optimise patient care.