Background: The aim of the study was to explore the value of a daily observation scale in the assessment of patients' memory function by nurses on a geriatric ward.
Methods: An observational study of 50 geriatric inpatients was carried out. The relationship between the memory items of the Nurses' Behavioral Rating Scale for Geriatric Inpatients (GIP) and four types of neuropsychological memory tests was examined: visual paired-associate learning (Visual Association Test, VAT), word-list learning (Eight Word Test, 8WT from the Amsterdam Dementia Screening, ADS), and the subtests Route Recall and Story Recall from the Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test (RBMT). Correlations with the overall measures assessing level of dementia such as the Mini-mental State Examination (MMSE), Clinical Dementia Rating scale (CDR) and the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15) were examined as well.
Results: The Pearson's correlation coefficients between GIP and the four memory tests were between 0.45 and 0.71 (p < 0.01). The GIP correlations with the MMSE and CDR were 0.63 and 0.46, respectively (p < 0.01). No significant correlation was found with the GDS-15. Statistically significant differences in GIP memory scores between patients with dementia and non-demented patients were found (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: Results indicate that an observation scale of memory function may have value for providing information about the underlying memory impairment. The results of nurses' observations may be used in triage contributing to the diagnostic process by selecting patients requiring further neuropsychological assessment.