Brief Interview for Mental Status Archives - THE GRAND

What Is BIMS?

BIMS – Brief Interview for Mental Status

Catherine Denlinger, MSW, LSW
Director of Social Services
The GRAND of Dublin

BIMS stands for Brief Interview for Mental Status.  It is a screen used to assist with identifying a resident’s current cognition and to help determine if any interventions need to occur. BIMS is a mandatory interviewing tool for skilled nursing centers.  A social worker is usually the one that would be administering the BIMS.  There is a series of questions that are asked to the resident.  These questions have a score value attached to them.  The total score of all the questions range from 0-15.   The numeric value falls into one of three cognitive categories: Intact, Moderate or Severe.  The BIMS is another tool used to assist with providing the best possible holistic well-being to a resident. 


BIMS is administered shortly upon admission to a skilled nursing center.  If a resident is in a skilled nursing center for long term care, then the BIMS would be administered at least quarterly.  If an improvement, decline or significant change occurs with a resident, then another BIMS would need to be administered.   If a resident is at a skilled nursing center for a short period of time, then the BIMS would be administered more often.  A resident would typically be asked these questions shortly upon admission, after 14 days, 30 days and so forth.  The objective of this interview is not to diagnose, but to assist with recognizing a resident’s possible need for further evaluation.  It provides a baseline for a resident’s cognitive functioning.  BIMS is divided into three sections.  The first section looks at a resident’s immediate recall.  The second section looks at a resident’s orientation.  The third and last section looks at a resident’s short-term memory. 

BIMS can present as intimidating and/or invasive toward some residents.  Since it is mandated that skilled nursing centers administer this, it is important to note that it is just one component of a resident’s MDS (Minimum Data Set) which is a combination of many assessments to develop an overall picture of a resident’s functioning.  The MDS helps to determine a resident’s plan of care so that he/she receives the best possible care.  BIMS is one part of the whole in determining the best possible treatment during a resident’s stay in a skilled nursing center.  Here at The Grand, we strive to develop a cohesive treatment plan to maximize a resident’s strengths and assist with a resident’s weaknesses to provide the best quality of care.

Please go to the following link for a sample BIMS and instructions: