The development and validation of a carer questionnaire to assess cognitive function in neuropsychiatric patients.J Psychosom Res. 2007 Jul; 63(1):93-8.JP
The carer history is an integral part of the assessment of patients with cognitive impairment. We aimed to develop a comprehensive yet concise carer questionnaire, the CogRisk, which captures actuarial risk variables for cognitive impairment in addition to key symptoms suggestive of cognitive decline in a number of cognitive domains, and to then assess its validity and reliability in a neuropsychiatric population.
Carers of patients assessed for cognitive impairment completed the CogRisk, and patients were clinically assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Neuropsychiatry Unit COGnitive assessment tool (NUCOG). Reliability was assessed using test-retest and interrater measures and measures of internal consistency. Construct and concurrent validity was assessed using correlation between total and subscale scores on the CogRisk, total scores on the NUCOG and MMSE, and subscale scores on the NUCOG. Predictive validity was determined using measures of sensitivity and specificity and using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) methods.
The CogRisk was completed by all carers in less than 10 min. The total CogRisk score correlated significantly with total MMSE and NUCOG scores (r=-0.511 and -0.563, respectively) and remained highly significant when age and education were controlled for. Internal consistency of CogRisk items was high (alpha=0.943). Intrarater reliability of the CogRisk was high with an intraclass correlation coefficient of .978 (P<.001), and interrater reliability between carers was also high at 0.868 (P<.05). Sensitivity and specificity for the detection of dementia were .70 and .73, respectively, with area under the ROC curve not significantly different from that of the MMSE or NUCOG.
The CogRisk is a brief carer-rated tool of a patient's cognitive functioning developed for use within a neuropsychiatric setting. It exhibited good concurrent validity, internal consistency, and interrater and intrarater reliability. The CogRisk also demonstrated good sensitivity and specificity for dementia. The CogRisk provides carer information, which complements the clinical assessment and can be used to focus on direct carer interview.