With the rising incidence and prevalence of dementia worldwide that is projected to continue, more efforts have been invested to address the needs of persons living with dementia and individuals around them. One such effort is the development of assessment tools and instruments in the field of dementia care.
Some uses of the assessments include:
- Measuring the progress of dementia-related impairments (cognitive, functional), or
- Measuring the effects of dementia treatments in clinical trials, and
- Evaluating the impact of psychosocial interventions in enabling persons living with dementia to live well, amongst other assessments.1
Other than studying dementia assessment tools and instruments, researchers and clinicians also study the reliability and utility of the methods for validating and reporting dementia assessment tools and instruments. An ideal measure should be valid, reliable and practical to use. It should not use too much of the assessors’ and participants’ time.
In addition, as dementia may, from its earliest stages, affect cognition and language abilities, it is important to have both persons living with dementia and their proxies, such as family caregivers and care professionals, involved in the assessment process.2 All these factors should be taken into consideration when choosing an assessment or instrument to be used in dementia care and research.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has developed a set of Clinical Practice Guidelines on Dementia. These guidelines list a number of recommended assessment tools to be used for cognitive screening, ratings of behaviour changes, and assessment of functional status and of social issues for persons at risk of dementia, for the process of diagnosis, and for persons who have been diagnosed with dementia.3
In the following nine documents, studies of some existing measures in dementia care have been consolidated and organised according to the purposes, strengths and limitations, and psychometric properties of the measures. You can find the embed links to the original journal articles and assessments/instruments in these articles for your further reading.
- Burns, A., Lawlor, B., & Craig, S. (2002). Rating scales in old age psychiatry. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 180(2), 161–167. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.180.2.161
- Sheehan, B. (2012). Assessment scales in dementia. Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders, 5(6), 348–358. https://doi.org/10.1177/1756285612455733
- Singapore Ministry of Health. (2013, July 10). Dementia: MOH Clinical Practice Guidelines 1/2013. Person-directed dementia care assessment tool. https://www.moh.gov.sg/docs/librariesprovider4/guidelines/dementia-10-jul-2013—booklet.pdf