What Is the FAST Method of Evaluating Dementia?


Quick Answer

FAST, or Functional Assessment Staging, is a method of evaluating dementia that focuses on daily activities and current levels of functioning instead of cognitive decline, according to Dementia Care Central. It breaks down the progression of dementia into seven different stages.

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Full Answer

In FAST, stage 1 represents a normal, healthy adult with no cognitive decline, and Stage 2 represents a healthy older adult, with some personal awareness of a decline in cognitive abilities, states Dementia Care Central.

Stage 3 of FAST is early Alzheimer's disease, and patients in this category experience noticeable deficits in cognitive ability in demanding job situations, according to Dementia Care Central. Stage 4 is mild Alzheimer's; patients in this stage need help performing complicated tasks, such as managing finances.

Stage 5 is moderate Alzheimer's; during this stage patients need assistance selecting proper clothing. Stage 6 is moderately severe Alzheimer's; patients in this stage need assistance bathing and using the toilet, and urinary and fecal incontinence may occur regularly. Stage 7 is the most severe stage; patients in this stage progressively lose the ability to sit up, walk, hold their head up or smile, and vocabulary may be limited to only a few intelligible words, states Dementia Care Central.

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