Advanced Assessment of Sensation

by Stephen Holt, MD, MS

My Notes
  • Required.
Save Cancel
    Report mistake

    00:01 Alright, so we've covered all the motor stuff.

    00:03 It's time to move on to the next tier of sensory processing.

    00:07 We've talked before about assessing for vibration sense and proprioception, etc.

    00:12 The cortex needs to take all that information that's coming in and integrate it and make sense of it.

    00:18 And so, this next set of tests are designed to assess cortical sensation.

    00:24 So called cortical sensation as supposed to the peripheral vascular system with proprioception, etc.

    00:30 So, what we're going to have our patient do is do three quick tests to make sure that specifically the parietal lobes are integrating all that information that's coming up from the spinal cord.

    00:39 First one we'll do is called stereognosia.

    00:42 Alright, so for stereognosia, I'm going to basically have you close your eyes and put out your left hand and I just want you to try and identify what that is in your hand.

    00:51 A house key. Perfect. That is a key.

    00:55 And now give me your right hand and see if you can identify what that is.

    01:01 A quarter. Perfect, now you got exactly not that it's just a coin but actually that's a quarter, so that's perfect.

    01:07 So, the ability to take all the information, the sensory information and process it is the work of the parietal lobe and that tells me that's functioning well.

    01:15 Another - great, that's called stereognosia, the next one is called graphesthesia.

    01:18 Can I have your left hand again? And I'm going to draw a letter or a number, and I want you to see if you can identify what it is.

    01:23 Number three. Perfect. Your right hand.

    01:27 A plus sign. Perfect. So, that's graphesthesia and the last one we'll do to assess for parietal lobe function is called extinction.

    01:39 And what I'm simply doing is often times, if there's decent inputs to both hemisphere but one is diseased in some way, you may be able to process sensory information if there's no distractions, but if you sample both sides of the same time, the dominant parietal lobe will detect a sensation or is the other lobe may not be able to detect it. So, can you feel this? Eyes closed. Eyes closed, just sorry.

    02:04 Can you feel this on the left? Yes.

    02:05 Can you feel this on the right? Yes.

    02:07 Can you feel it on both sides? Yes.

    02:09 So, a patient who's having a subtle stroke or subtle problem with the parietal lobe or even the sensory motor strip, on either side may have extinction that is sensory extinction when you apply stimulus to both sides.

    02:23 They are no longer able to feel it on the affected side.

    02:26 With that we can move on to higher cortical processing, having just on cortical sensation.

    02:31 We're going to just touch on cortical, higher cortical functioning, executive functioning.

    02:36 In so far as, we're taking about test for dementia and for delirium.

    02:41 Now, for dementia there is a variety of well-validated, widely disseminated instruments that you can find online in our, all part of downloadable material.

    02:52 Such as the Folstein Mini-Mental status exam, the Mini-Cog, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and even just the Clock-drawing test.

    03:00 I'm not going to go into these or demonstrate these because they are essentially a script that you walk through.

    03:06 Anybody can walk through them, it's very straight forward, they're also available in almost every language on the planet and so, I just invite you to familiarize yourself with those particular instruments because they are very useful, validated told to assess for early or advanced dementia and staging dementia over time.

    03:24 For delirium, there is also a variety of tools that are out there, it is a clinical bedside diagnosis, and the tool that I often use is the Confusion Assessment Method, the CAM and it has only four components.

    03:37 And a patient has to have three out of those four components to meet the criteria for delirium.

    03:43 The first two are required components.

    03:45 And that is the patient's mental status should be acutely changed and fluctuating.

    03:51 So, this is not something where the person has had a slowly indolent progression of memory loss or what have you over the span of weeks or months.

    03:56 Delirium is by its nature, a fluctuating mental status.

    04:00 Secondly, the patient should have problem with attention.

    04:03 So, if I said to you, I want you to close your left eye and wiggle your right finger while tapping your left toe.

    04:10 That's a very complicated, coordinated task, he requires some degree of attention to be able to do that.

    04:17 A patient with delirium is not going to be able to attend to things in that way.

    04:20 So, you have to have both of those criteria.

    04:22 The fluctuating acute mental status change and a problem with attention.

    04:25 And then either or the next two findings.

    04:28 So, one would be disorganized thinking and that's simply if I ask him to tell, why he is in the hospital or tell me some other piece of information.

    04:36 If he's tangential, not making sense, can't follow his own mind of thinking, that would be evidence of disorganized thinking.

    04:45 And then the last thing would be altered level of consciousness So, if the patient is having trouble staying awake, if I have to do a sternal rub or what have you to wake him up again.

    04:53 Either of those two things would support, would be that third criteria and it's necessary for the Confusion Assessment Method.

    05:01 And that's the full assessment of delirium.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Advanced Assessment of Sensation by Stephen Holt, MD, MS is from the course Assessment of the Neuromuscular and Neurological System (Nursing).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. By having the client close their eyes and identify an object that the nurse puts in their hand
    2. By having the client close their eyes and stand upright for up to 60 seconds
    3. By having the client close their eyes with their arms outstretched for 30 seconds
    4. By having the client close their eyes and identify a number that the nurse traces on their palm
    1. The client with new-onset confusion, who has severe difficulties with attention and presents with disorganized thinking
    2. The client with a 5-year history of non-fluctuating confusion, who has new-onset attention difficulties, is fully alert and presents with disorganized thinking
    3. The client with new, intermittent confusion who can pay attention to their nurse for short bursts, has organized thinking and presents as more drowsy than usual
    4. The client with progressively worsening confusion, whose attention is intact and presents with a decreased level of consciousness and disorganized thinking
    1. Extinction test
    2. Stereognosia test
    3. Graphesthesia test
    4. Finger-nose-finger test
    5. Romberg test

    Author of lecture Advanced Assessment of Sensation

     Stephen Holt, MD, MS

    Stephen Holt, MD, MS

    Customer reviews

    5,0 of 5 stars
    5 Stars
    4 Stars
    3 Stars
    2 Stars
    1  Star