The Folstein Mini-mental State Examination

Before taking a history it is important to assess whether the patient is capable of giving accurate information. It may become obvious after the first few orientation questions that the patient cannot provide a reliable history and a collateral history should be sought from relatives, care staff, GPs, hospital notes and clinic letters.

Performing a mini-mental state assessment can be particularly beneficial in the ED setting.

The full Folstein mini-mental state assessment consists of 30 questions and can be time consuming.

Alternatively, much more suitable to perform in the ED is the abbreviated mental test, a validated alternative assessment [12].

What score on the abbreviated mental test indicates cognitive impairment?

A score of six or less