Dementia involves progressive and often remorseless decline in cognition, function, behaviour and care needs. Assessment in dementia relies on collateral as well as patient-derived information. Many assessment scales have been developed over decades for use in dementia research and care. These scales are used to reduce uncertainty in decision making, for example in screening for cognitive impairment, making diagnoses of dementia and monitoring change. Ideal scales used in dementia should demonstrate face validity and concurrent validity against gold standard assessments, should be reliable, practical, and should rely on objective rather than subjective information. Assessment scales in the domains of cognition, function, behaviour, quality of life, depression in dementia, carer burden and overall dementia severity are reviewed in this article. The practical use of these scales in clinical practice and in research is discussed.
Keywords: Assessment; dementia; scales.