Culturally appropriate dementia assessment tools

Resources developed for screening and diagnostic assessment of people from non-English speaking backgrounds.

In Australia a significant and ever growing proportion of the elderly population are overseas born with English as a second language. Standard assessment tools, such as the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) are not easy to translate and administer to this population. Culturally appropriate dementia assessment tools, however are available. 

Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale

The Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale (RUDAS) is a short cognitive screening instrument designed to minimise the effects of cultural learning and language diversity on the assessment of baseline cognitive performance. 

All resources associated with this assessment tool is available under Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale (RUDAS) information page. 

Screening and diagnostic assessment tools

The following Guidelines and System Recommendations developed by National Cross Cultural Dementia Network in collaboration with National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) provide information for assessors when they are planning the dementia screening or assessment of a non-English speaking person. 

The Guidelines apply to all elements of the screening, assessment and diagnosis process, including cognitive, neuropsychological and functional assessments. They reflect good assessment principles in general, but have been written specifically with dementia-related assessments in mind. 

Screening tool guidelines (PDF)
Screening and diagnostic assessment of non-English speaking people with dementia. Guidelines and system recommendations for practitioners, service managers and policy makers, May 2007. 

Screening tools - Background paper (PDF) 
Screening and diagnostic assessment of non-English speaking people with dementia. Background paper, May 2007. 

Related resources

Guidelines for the provision of psychological services to persons whose first or best language is other than English, adopted by the South Australian Psychological Board in 2007, were produced to remind psychologists of their obligation to ensure clear and appropriate levels of communication in their interactions with clients whose first or best language is other than English. 

Dementia Outcomes Measurement Suite (DOMS) Project, University of Wollongong, Centre for Health Service Development, September 2007. The purpose of the DOMS project is to develop a set of recommended instruments/measures for routine use in the assessment, diagnosis, screening and outcomes monitoring of dementia conditions and the evaluation of treatments that are applicable for the Australian health care context. 

Australian Psychologist, Volume 44 Issue 1 2009, Special edition on issues in cross-cultural psychological assessment.