Attention is the ability to focus mental processes on key attributes of a situation while screening out distractions. The ability to count backwards, count forward by 3’s, repeat a list of items, and perform similar activities may help assess attention.
Short Term Memory is the ability to remember information over a short time span. One way to assess short term memory is to tell a patient three common words (i.e., apple, comb, and tree) at the beginning of the assessment and then ask him/her to recall the three words a few minutes later. If the patient has difficulty with this task, he/she may not be able to remember the instructions required for somatosensory testing.
Two common methods used for mental status examination
Page 20 of 28