Mental status tests
Alternate Names : Memory, Word comprehension, Orientation, Attention span, Cognitive tests
Mental status tests are used to determine whether a disease or condition is affecting a person's thinking abilities, and whether a person's mental condition is improving or getting worse.
How is the Test Performed?
The following tests may be performed:
The health care provider will check the person's physical appearance, including:
- General level of comfort
The health care provider will ask questions that may include:
- The person's name, age, and job
- The place where the person lives, type of building, city, and state
- The time, date, and season
The provider will test the person's ability to finish a thought, either through conversation, or by asking the person to follow a series of directions.
The provider will ask questions related to recent people, places, and events in the person's life or in the world.
The provider will ask about the person's childhood, school, or historical events that occurred earlier in life.
The provider will point to everyday items in the room and ask the person to name them.
To test the person's judgment and ability to solve a problem or situation, the provider might ask questions such as:
- "If you found a driver's license on the ground, what would you do?"
- "If a police officer approached you from behind in a car with lights flashing, what would you do?"
How to Prepare for the Test?
No preparation is necessary for these tests. All responses should be natural, spontaneous, and honest.
Preparation, especially by a highly intelligent person, could change the results of the test by making it seem that mental function has not declined when it actually has.
How will the Test Feel?
There is no physical discomfort.