Finding free cognitive assessments that are applicable for occupational therapists can be a challenge when you’re in a time crunch.
As you may have found, many rehab settings do not have these on hand when you’re in need of assessing a patient’s cognition.
Because of this, I did the research for you and found these easy to access cognitive assessments that can be quickly printed off when you’re in a pinch.
These free assessments can be used in a multiple of adult settings, from acute care, to inpatient rehab, sub-acute rehab or outpatient OT, depending on what you’re looking to assess.
Here are the top 6 best free cognitive assessments for occupational therapists.
1. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA)
The MoCA is a quick and easy 10 minute assessment for cognitive dysfunction. It assesses the following: attention and concentration, executive functions, memory, language, visuo-constructional skills, conceptual thinking, calculations, and
orientation. To get access to the current version, you just need to create a free account which only takes two minutes.
After you create your free account, you’ll have full access to all of the MoCA assessments, including the Basic, the Blind for visually impaired patients, and the Mini MoCA.
2. The Saint Louis University Mental Status (SLUMS) Examination
The SLUMS examination is another popular and quick cognitive assessment. The SLUMS incorporates a clock drawing task, animal naming, figure differentiation and size differentiation, assessing orientation, memory, attention, and executive function. It’s purpose is used to detect mild cognitive impairment and dementia.
3. The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)
The MMSE is a quick 5-10 minute screening that looks for cognitive impairment and possible dementia. The domains it assesses include orientation, registration, attention, calculation, and language and praxis. The scores range from no cognitive impairment to severe cognitive impairment.
4. Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU (CAM-ICU)
The CAM-ICU is a great assessment for OTs working in the intensive care unit to assess and monitor delirium. This is different from the other tests which looking for dementia, whereas this assessment looks for an acute onset of delirium.
This is defined by the CAM-ICU as “a disturbance of consciousness characterized by acute onset and fluctuating course of
inattention accompanied by either a change in cognition or a perceptual disturbance, so that a patient’s ability to receive, process, store, and recall information is impaired.”
Delirium in the hospital develops quickly, over a short period of time and, unlike some forms of dementia, is usually reversible.
This test is an important one to use as ICU delirium often results in increased risks of: mortality, length of stay, healthcare costs, time on ventilator and re-intubation, long-term cognitive impairment, and discharge to long-term care facility.
5. The Short-Blessed Test
The Short-Blessed Test is a quick screen designed to help detect early cognitive changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias for OTs working with older adults. The scores range from normal cognition, questionable impairment, or impairment consistent with dementia.
6. The Kettle Test
The Kettle Test is a functional cognitive screening test that involves the client preparing two cups of a hot beverage; one for the individual being assessment and one for the examiner. The examiner asks the client to prepare a hot drink that differs in two ingredients from the one he/she chose for the examiner.
The test does require a few ingredients but your facility may already have them on hand. These include a kettle, instant coffee, tea, sugar/sweetener, milk, salt, pepper and oil (as distraction items). Other items include 3 cups, a milk pitcher, a bowl, 2 plates, 3 small spoons, a large spoon, 2 forks, a knife, and a can opener (again with distraction items).
The test with directions has a scoring guide, included in the link above. The scores range from 0-52, with higher scores reflecting more severe problems in performance.
If you’re interested in the specific statistics of each individual assessment, simply enter the name into the Rehabilitation Measures Database here.
Do you have any other favorite, free cognitive assessments that you use in your setting? Please feel free to share them in the comments below.