Confusion Assessment Method (Short CAM)

The Short CAM was developed to improve the identification and recognition of delirium.The Short CAM contains only items 1-4 of the orginal Confusion Assessment Method (Long CAM). These items are the four features found to best distinguish delirium from other types of cognitive impairment.

In contrast, the Long CAM is a comprehensive tool that includes additional questions assessing disorientation, memory impairment, psychomotor agitation, psychomotor retardation, and altered sleep wake cycle. While the Long CAM can provide additional information about a patient's behavior, the Short CAM has been proven to be effective in identifying delirium in validated research studies. Clinicians most often use the Short CAM as it can be completed in five minutes, making it more practical for clinical use.  

This manual is intended to guide you in the use of the Short CAM. In order to rate the Short CAM, it is important to perform formal cognitive testing. This testing can be brief, and we provide an example of a brief (5-10 min) cognitive screening procedure in the Appendix. You can also use other brief instruments, such as the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire or the Mini-Cog. Once you have performed the cognitive testing with a patient you may move on to scoring the CAM.