The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires evaluation for cognitive impairment as part of the Annual Wellness Visit (AWV). Nurses and nurse practitioners in primary care are in a good position to incorporate brief cognitive screens into the AWV. Early recognition of cognitive problems allows clinicians and patients the opportunity to discuss any new or ongoing concerns about cognition, address possible reversible causes, or refer for further evaluation. It should be noted that some patients may prefer not to explore for cognitive impairment.
Numerous brief cognitive screens have been developed for primary care, with no one screen being appropriate for all patients or clinicians. This review examines the psychometric properties, usefulness, and limitations of both patient and informant brief (under five minutes) cognitive screens endorsed by the Alzheimer's, National Institute of Aging (NIA), and Gerontological Society (GSA) workgroups, plus a recently developed brief version of the standard MoCA.