Psychological Assessment

The psychological assessment screens for cognitive impairment and depression, two conditions that significantly impact both the patient and the family. The most studied test to screen for cognition is the Mini-Mental State Examination, which is best for identifying patients with moderate or severe dementia. Depression can be readily screened with shorter versions of the original 30-item Yesavage Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) (Yesavage et al., 1983). The five-item version of the GDS asks the following:

1. Are you basically satisfied with your life?

2. Do you often feel bored?

3. Do you often feel helpless?

4. Do you prefer to stay home rather than going out and doing new things?

5. Do you feel pretty worthless the way you are now?

A score of greater than two positive answers is positive (97% sensitivity, 85% specificity) (Rinalde et al., 2003). The Yale Depression Screen ("Do you often feel sad or depressed?") is a validated one-item GDS screening tool (Mahoney et al., 1994).

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