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Keywords:

  • Clock-drawing;
  • dementia;
  • community;
  • longitudinal

Abstract

The clock -drawing test was used in a longitudinal study of 183 dementing individuals and their caregivers. Clock-drawing performance was measured by a simple standardized score which correlated significantly with other measures of cognitive function. Clock performance showed high individual consistency of performance as well as a significant deterioration from the initial level of performance to that obtained at 1-year follow-up. Dementing individuals who had experienced a significantly greater decline in clock-drawing performance at 1-year follow-up were more likely to have caregivers who had already decided to institutionalize them. This suggests that the caregiver's decision to institutionalize was based in part on the perception of a rapid decline in their dependant's cognitive function. Thus, rate of change in cognitive function may prove to be as important a variable as the level of deterioration. The clock-drwing test appears to be a useful adjunct in the assessment and monitoring of the progressive dementias in the community.