Toolkit for Diagnosis of Dementia

Primary-care doctors have a free online toolkit to aid them in detection and diagnosis of cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Developed by the Gerontological Society of America, the toolkit model is named KAER, a four-step method. Step one is KICKSTART, an introduction about memory loss to patients and families. Step two is ASSESS, in which doctors use a tool with four characteristics to determine dementia, to include: (a) administration in less than five minutes; (b) assessment of memory and one other cognitive domain; (c) easy administration; and (d) must be free from cultural and language bias. Step three is EVALUATE, which involves a doctor thoroughly evaluating a patient who shows signs of cognitive impairment and follows up with a full diagnostic workup. Step four is REFER, in which Medicare recipients diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s get to the services that help them prepare for a future with dementia. It may also include participation in clinical trials. Dr. Richard Fortinsky, chair of the Gerontological Society workgroup, explained the rationale of having a primary-care physician utilize the KAER process since most older adults do have a PCP. Eli Lilly and Company played a role in the development of the toolkit which was overseen by Katie Maslow, the workgroup member. She indicated the assessment tools and materials are in an easily accessible format offering a choice of tools that fit best with particular primary-care practice settings. For additional information, go to:

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