Testing requires alertness and is not possible in a confused or dysphasic patient

IMMEDIATE memory - Digit span - ask patient to repeat a sequence of 5, 6 or 7

random numbers.

Ask patient to describe present illness, duration of hospital stay or recent events in the news.

Ask about events and circumstances occurring more than 5 years previously.

Ask patient to remember a sentence or a short story and test after 15 minutes.

Ask patient to remember objects on a tray and test after 15 minutes.

Note: Retrograde amnesia - loss of memory of events leading up to a brain injury or insult.

Post-traumatic amnesia - permanent loss of memory of events for a period following a head injury.

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