Bedside assessment of cognition

by Dr Jordi Serra-Mestres and Dr Richard Perry


Last updated: December 2019


The 'bedside' assessment of cognition is a key element of the mental state examination used in psychiatry, yet this assessment is often neglected or reduced to a few specifics such as comments on temporo-spatial orientation.


The reasons are varied, but clinicians often complain of a lack of training and practical experience in this area, as well as a difficulty in understanding the findings from the perspective of their functional neuroanatomy.


This module offers an overview of how to assess cognition at the bedside or in the consulting room. In it, we define and describe the various cognitive functions and their functional anatomy, giving examples of clinical manifestations of deficits in these cognitive functions.


We also describe the most reliable and widely used tests of cognition at the bedside, giving tips and instructions on how to administer them.


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