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Identifying Cognitive Impairment in the Acute Care Hospital Setting: Finding an Appropriate Screening Tool.

IMPORTANCE: Identifying cognitive impairment in adults in acute care is essential so that providers can address functional deficits and plan for safe discharge. Occupational therapy practitioners play an essential role in screening for, evaluating, and treating cognitive impairment.

OBJECTIVE: To test and compare the psychometrics and feasibility of three cognitive screens and select the ideal screen for use in acute care.

DESIGN: Prospective mixed methods.

SETTING: Acute care hospital.

PARTICIPANTS: Fifty adults.

OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: We examined the interrater reliability, administration time, and usability of the Brief Cognitive Assessment Tool Short Form (BCAT-SF), the Activity Measure for Post-Acute Care "6-Clicks" Applied Cognitive Inpatient Short Form (AM-PAC ACISF), and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). We compared the construct validity, sensitivity, and specificity of the BCAT-SF and AM-PAC ACISF with those of the MoCA.

RESULTS: Interrater reliability was good to excellent; ICCs were .98 for the MoCA, .97 for the BCAT-SF, and .86 for the AM-PAC ACISF. The BCAT-SF and the AM-PAC ACISF both had 100% sensitivity, and specificity was 74% for the BCAT-SF and 98% for the AM-PAC ACISF. The optimal cutoff score for cognitive impairment on the AM-PAC ACISF was <22. Administration time of the AM-PAC ACISF (1.0 min) was significantly less than that of the BCAT-SF (5.0 min) and the MoCA (13.3 min; p < .001).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Each screen demonstrated acceptable reliability and construct validity. The AM-PAC ACISF had the optimum mix of performance and feasibility for the fast-paced acute care setting. What This Article Adds: Early identification of cognitive impairment using the AM-PAC ACISF can allow for timely occupational therapy intervention in acute care settings.

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