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How To Try This: The Mini-Cog

Carolan Doerflinger, Deirdre Mary PhD, CRNP

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: December 2007 - Volume 107 - Issue 12 - p 62–71
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000301030.81651.66
FEATURE: How to try this

As the population grows and the proportion of older adults increases, the incidence and prevalence of dementia are expected to increase dramatically. Health care providers' lack of awareness of current geriatrics practice and persistence in holding the outdated belief that confusion is a normal part of aging contribute to significant underrecognition of dementia in all settings. Early recognition and diagnosis are critical to carrying out best practices in the care of older patients. The Mini-Cog is a simple, effective, easily administered screening tool that can uncover cognitive impairment in its earliest stages. The tool consists of a three-item recall task and a simple clock-drawing task. The Mini-Cog takes only three to five minutes to administer and requires minimal training. For a free online video demonstrating the use of this tool, go to

Dementia is still significantly underrecognized in all settings. This tool, consisting of a three-item recall and a clockdrawing test, takes only minutes to administer, can help clinicians identify this progressive disorder.

Deirdre Mary Carolan Doerflinger is a geriatrics clinical nurse specialist at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, VA.

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The author has no significant ties, financial or otherwise, to any company that might have an interest in the publication of this educational activity.

How to Try This is a three-year project funded by a grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation to the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University's College of Nursing in collaboration with AJN. This initiative promotes the Hartford Institute's geriatric assessment tools, Try This: Best Practices in Nursing Care to Older Adults: The series will include articles and corresponding videos, all of which will be available for free online at Nancy A. Stotts, EdD, RN, FAAN (, and Sherry A. Greenberg, MSN, APRN, BC, GNP (, are coeditors of the print series. The articles and videos are to be used for educational purposes only.

Routine use of a Try This tool may require formal review and approval by your employer.

Simplify the identification of cognitive impairment with this easy-to-use tool.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.