Assessment tools for geriatric patients with delirium, mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and depression

Nora Jean Francis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Rehabilitation providers who provide services to older adults with movement dysfunction will likely encounter patients with delirium, depression, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and dementia. Alterations in cognitive status and mood often interfere with the management of the patient's primary movement problem. Although physicians and mental health providers manage the primary diagnosis and treatment of these conditions, rehabilitation therapists must recognize signs and symptoms of these common geriatric conditions. However, health care workers are inconsistent in recognizing and differentiating delirium, MCI, dementia, and depression. Therefore, older adult patients should be assessed frequently using standardized tools to facilitate prompt identification and management of the underlying etiology. There are many valid and reliable screening tools that rehabilitation therapists may use to assess changes in mental status or mood in older adults. If delirium, depression, MCI, or dementia is confirmed by the screening results, referral to the primary physician and/or the neuropsychologist is optimal. The purpose of this article was to provide a resource of information about assessment tools for delirium, depression, MCI, and dementia, which therapists may effectively and efficiently apply in a clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-147
Number of pages11
JournalTopics in Geriatric Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012


  • assessment tools
  • delirium
  • dementia
  • depression
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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