Cognitive Assessment
CRM: Cognitive Assessment
Concussion Recognition & Management
Module 4 Assessment

Cognitive Assessment

doctor listens to young, upset woman with head in hand
A cognitive assessment should measure and evaluate these items:
  • Orientation, attention and concentration, and memory.
  • Processing speed.
  • Executive functioning: the ability to plan and organize.
Simple questions can prompt revelations that will help you assess your patient’s judgment, planning, and ability to get things done.

You can learn a great deal just from questioning the patient, deriving information from what the young person says, how he or she says it, and how family members or friends present react to the responses. For example, a parent present during an exam will probably be delivering non-verbal cues as the young person speaks, affirming or discounting the accuracy of statements.


question marks arrow in center of target with Purpose
  • Tell me what’s going well in school.
Keep questions open-ended. Start with positives.
  • How are you doing in school overall?
  • How are you struggling?
  • What are you struggling with?
  • How is math going?
  • How about a foreign language?
  • How are your studies in literature?
  • What is happening in art class?
If there are differences in responses to each course, that may give you hints as to where the trouble lies.
  • Have any of your grades changed since your injury happened?
  • Which subjects have changed?
Identify the changes that may be due to the injury.
  • Have you taken tests?
  • How did you do?
Inability to concentrate undermines performance.
  • How is homework going in the evening?
Answers to this question will help you assess concentration, focus, and fatigue.
  • How is your sleep?
Determine whether the patient is sleeping more or less than normal.
  • Are you getting your homework done on time?
  • Are you able to organize your work?
Answers to these questions will help you assess executive functioning and planning.

This process should be effective in the vast majority of cases you will see. If a case is more complicated, it's recommended you seek out a specialist. We'll give suggestions in Module 6.

Module 4 Assessment

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