Mini Mental Status Exam print out

Mini Mental Status Exam
  • Regional Capacity Assessment Team, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Abstract

    The main objectives of this study were to examine the relationship between cognitive deficits, as measured by the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE), and decision-making capacity and to determine whether the sensitivity and specificity of the MMSE varied based upon the patient population assessed. Using a sample size of 152 patients and varying cutoff scores, the MMSE demonstrated extremely poor sensitivity. In contrast, the MMSE had excellent specificity when scores of 19 or less were obtained. In our sample, not one patient, regardless of diagnosis, was deemed to have capacity if their MMSE score was below 20. However, reliance on the MMSE for scores above 19 would too frequently lead to misclassification and incorrect assumptions about a patient’s decision-making abilities. Although a score below 20 consistently yielded findings of incapability in our sample, it remains our opinion that the MMSE should not be used as a stand-alone tool to make determinations related to capacity, especially when considering the complexities associated with capacity evaluations and the vital areas, such as executive functioning and individual values and beliefs, which are omitted by the MMSE.

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