Background: Identifying dementia in primary care could minimize the impact of a late intervention; however, it shows high rates of misdiagnosis. One of the reasons seems to be the lack of knowledge of adequate cognitive screening instruments. This is a systematic review of the available instruments for the primary care context.
Method: For this systematic review, articles were collected according to the following combined key terms: "cognitive screening" and "dementia" and "primary care" and "review". Studies should be reviews focusing on cognitive screening instruments best used in primary care setting.
Results: Thirteen reviews were selected. In total, it was considered 34 cognitive screening instruments. Half of the instruments can be applied in an adequate time-limit for primary care context. Memory is the most commonly assessed cognitive function (91%). Almost half of the tests are mentioned to have influence of education or cultural factors (44%).
Conclusion: Tests such as 6CIT, AMT, GPCOG, Mini-Cog, MIS, MoCA, and STMS seem to be good alternatives to the use of the Mini-Mental State Examination when considering factors such as application time, sensitivity, specificity, and number of studies. However, there is a wide range of tests with different characteristics, therefore it is recommended that the professional gets some expertise in a few number of instruments in order to be able to choose which to use, or use in combination, depending on the setting and the profile of the patient.