How to use it

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.

Learn more about the test and follow-up options:

Regular Part of Health Care and Medicare Wellness Visits
Powerful Research Tool
Step-by-Step Mini-Cog© Instructions
Scoring the Mini-Cog©
Other Resources