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An iPad-based Measure of Processing Speed in Older Adults Hospitalized for Heart Failure

Eiran Z Gorodeski, Anson B Rosenfeldt, Karen Fang, Cynthia Kubu, Stephen M Rao, Elizabeth A Jansen, Tanujit Dey, Jay L Alberts
Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing 2019 March 27

BACKGROUND: In older adults hospitalized with heart failure (HF), cognitive impairment is associated with increased hospital readmission and mortality risk. There is no consensus on an objective, scalable method of cognitive screening in this population.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this project was to determine the feasibility, test-retest reliability, and convergent validity of the Processing Speed Test (PST), a test of information processing, attention, and working memory administered on an iPad in older adults hospitalized with HF.

METHODS: Patients hospitalized with HF (n = 30) and age-, sex-, and education-matched controls (n = 30) participated in the study. To determine test-retest reliability, the PST was administered on an iPad on 2 occasions, separated by 12 to 48 hours. The Symbol Digit Modalities Test was administered at the first testing time point to determine convergent validity.

RESULTS: Test-retest reliability of the PST was 0.80 and 0.92 in individuals with HF and controls, respectively. Convergent validity was 0.72 and 0.90 for individuals with HF and controls, respectively. Time to complete the PST was similar for both individuals with HF and controls (<5 minutes).

CONCLUSION: The iPad-based deployment of the PST was a feasible, reliable, and valid cognitive screen for older adults hospitalized with HF. Using a tablet-based self-administered cognitive screen in older adults with HF provides a method of cognitive assessment that is amenable to widespread clinical utilization.


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