Clinical and Ethical Indications for Cognitive Impairment Screening in Primary Care

Originally presented on January 19, 2017

David Hoffman, M.Ed., C.C.E.
Director, Bureau of Community Integration and Alzheimer’s Disease, Division of Long Term Care, Office of Health Insurance Programs
New York State Department of Health

Current evidence indicates that the general public is hesitant to share concerns about memory loss with their physician. Likewise, physicians are often unlikely to disclose a diagnosis of cognitive impairment or dementia, citing lack of knowledge, too little time, or difficulty discussing such a sensitive topic. The general public and many members of the medical community also continue to believe that an early diagnosis for a disease with no cure provides little benefit.

In this webcast, Department of Health Bureau Director David Hoffman offers three alternative perspectives to challenge current norms. First, Hoffman proposes that knowing information about cognitive impairment or related diagnoses helps the patient and their family in multiple ways. Secondly, he discusses the wide array of tools that are shown to be both sensitive and specific for screening, and importantly, are quick to implement. Using principles of bioethics, Hoffman makes the argument that cognitive screening and disclosure is ethically the right thing to do.

Learning Objectives
After watching this webcast participants will be able to:

  • Describe the benefits of early cognitive screening;
  • Describe cognitive screening tools shown to be both sensitive and specific;
  • Discuss the Medicare Annual Wellness visit as a vehicle for changing dementia diagnostic practices at a population level; and
  • Identify ethical justifications for cognitive screening and early diagnosis.

Continuing Education Credits expired for this activity on 1/31/2020. Please take the evaluation as it helps us to plan future programs. Thank you!