Screening vs Diagnosis
Screening persons for dementia and a diagnosis of dementia are two different things.
Screening for dementia with tools like the Abbreviated Mental Test (AMT) cannot be used to diagnose a person with dementia. They are instead used to spot some obvious symptoms of dementia in persons being screened, after which persons who have been identified with dementia symptoms may be encouraged to consult a doctor for further testing.
Persons who have been identified as having dementia symptoms during screening do not necessarily have dementia, and vice versa: there is some chance that some persons who have not been identified as having dementia symptoms may have dementia.
In Singapore, only medically qualified professionals, i.e. doctors, can diagnose dementia. A family doctor can be consulted for an initial assessment. If necessary, the doctor may refer the case to specialists (geriatricians, psych geriatricians, neurologists and psychiatrists) for an official diagnosis.
Qualified professionals who can conduct dementia diagnoses are found at healthcare institutions such as family clinics and hospitals, and certified general practitioners’ clinics.