The Mini-Cog© can be used to screen for dementia quickly during routine annual exams and other medical visits. In just 3 minutes, Mini-Cog© can help doctors and other professional care providers identify the possible onset of cognitive impairment in older patients.
This gives people who are beginning to show signs of dementia a better chance of early diagnosis, which can make crucial differences in care decisions―and ultimately health and quality of life. That said, Mini-Cog© is only a first step in a possible dementia diagnosis.
If Mini-Cog© results suggest the possibility of cognitive impairment, more detailed assessment is the next step.
This in-depth evaluation takes a closer look at additional components of cognitive function, including short-term and long-term memory, attention span, language and communication skills, and orientation.
It requires an appointment long enough to include taking a more comprehensive patient history, assessing everyday functioning, and conducting a medical examination that may suggest the need for brain scans and/or laboratory tests. The participation of someone who knows the individual well is an important part of this step.
There are some situations where referral to a cognitive specialist for further evaluation may be advisable. However, primary care clinicians can and do provide the majority of diagnoses and ongoing care for individuals with dementia.