Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry Survey of Brief Cognitive Screening Instruments


  • Zahinoor Ismail University of Calgary, University of Toronto
  • Benoit H. Mulsant University of Toronto
  • Nathan Herrmann University of Toronto
  • Mark Rapoport University of Toronto
  • Magnus Nilsson Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Ken Shulman University of Toronto



cognitive screening, dementia screening, Clock Drawing Test (CDT), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), neuropsychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, cognitive testing



The use of brief cognitive screening instruments is essential in the assessment of dementia. The purpose of this study is to determine the frequency of use and perceived characteristics of cognitive screening instruments among Canadian psychogeriatric clinicians.


Members of the Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry (CAGP) and attendees to the 2010 Annual Scientific Meeting were asked to complete a computerized survey. This survey assessed the perceived characteristics and frequency of use of 14 instruments.


The survey had a 55% response rate, with a total of 155 respondents. The most commonly used instruments are the Clock Drawing Test (CDT), Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), and Delayed Word Recall. Effectiveness, ease of administration, and speed of administration were the perceived characteristics of instruments most correlated with frequency of use.


Consistent with previous surveys, a small number of cognitive screening instruments are used by the majority of clinicians. Use of the CDT and the MMSE were comparable. To our knowledge, this is the first survey demonstrating that the MMSE is not the most commonly used tool, and other, newer instruments like the MoCA, are gaining prominence.


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How to Cite

Ismail Z, Mulsant BH, Herrmann N, Rapoport M, Nilsson M, Shulman K. Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry Survey of Brief Cognitive Screening Instruments. Can Geriatr J [Internet]. 2013 Apr. 10 [cited 2023 May 28];16(2):54-60. Available from:



Original Research