Jenna Bigham, LSW
Social Services Director
Abbyshire Place Skilled Nursing & Rehab

Social Services Data Collection in Nursing Homes

When a person is admitted to a nursing home there are several tests and checks that are required to be performed to gather a baseline for the resident. Of those checks include two main assessments that are to be conducted by the social service department by the facility social worker. These assessments include the Brief Interview for Mental Status (BIMS) and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). While these tests are fairly simple in complexity, they are very important for overall care given to the resident.

Typically the first assessment conducted by the social services department is the BIMS assessment. This assessment is conducted initially and repeatedly to assess cognition over time. The BIMS assessment consists of 15 point scale and is split into three distinct sections. The assessment assesses immediate recall, orientation, and short term memory. Depending on how the resident scores is telling of how cognitively intact they are at that time. Scores 13-15 prove to the conductor that the resident is at that time, cognitively intact. However, 08-12 prove moderately impaired and 00-07 severely impaired.

The second assessment is the PHQ-9, which identifies signs or symptoms of depression, and it contains nine short and simple questions. Some of the questions asked when conducting the PHQ-9 assessment are as follows:

In the last two weeks have you felt:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in doing things
  • Tired
  • Overeating or loss of appetite

These questions are then broken down into how many days, out of the two weeks; the resident has felt each way and scored accordingly:

  • Never / One day (scored as 00)
  • 02-06 days (scored as 01)
  • 07-11 days (scored as 02)
  • 12-14 days (scored as 03)

The PHQ-9 is especially important to care giving in nursing homes so as to accurately identifying depression and thus providing effective treatment.