Rationale & Procedures: Conducting a Mental Status Examination

Mental Status Examinations are used in many settings to determine if there are any conditions that are would prevent a client/patient from participating in their own care. A Mental Status Examination can help an intake worker to determine the level of care that would be most appropriate for the client. More importantly, it can reveal details that eliminate or suggest certain diagnoses. A mental status examination can also be conducted at any point in treatment to determine if the client is improving or getting worse. The format of mental status examinations ranges from a few brief questions to asking the subject to perform a series of cognitive tasks. Some examinations are done informally with brief documentation in a case note. Conversely, the results of a structured clinical interview might be reported in great detail. This solution introduces the components that most commonly assessed in a mental status examination and explains how the information is obtained.

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