What is the best way to assess cognitive functioning in individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) without using a long battery of neurocognitive tests?

The Cognitive Assessment Interview (CAI) is an effective way to assess cognitive functioning in individuals with SMI or related disorders. The CAI is a semi-structured interview-based measure that allows for a determination of whether cognitive functioning is interfering with a person’s daily functioning and covers six domains of cognition including short-term memory, long-term memory, concentration, reasoning and problem solving, speed of processing, and social cognition. The scoring is simply the severity rating in each domain of cognition on a scale of 1-Normal Functioning to 7-Severe Deficits. The rater uses his/her expert judgement to determine the extent to which the person’s cognitive deficits are interfering with daily functioning, e.g., poor concentration interferes with following conversations or carrying out work tasks. The CAI is administered to an individual (approximately 15 minutes) and an informant (approximately 15 minutes) who knows about the individual’s cognitive functioning. Some prior CAI training is required because the interviewer must use his/her expert judgement to evaluate cognitive functioning in addition to an individual’s description, which might be subjective. An advantage of the CAI is that the administration time is short and interpretation of the results is straightforward.

Cognitive Assesement Interview (CAI) Manual

Cognitive Assessment Interview (CAI) Rating Form

Cognitive Assessment Interview (CAI) Rating Booklet

Cognitive Assessment Interview (CAI) Supplemental Administration Instructions

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