A good portion of the AIMS test is based on your visual observation and on asking the patient questions. Here is the AIMS test: The chair to be used in this examination should be a hard, firm one without arms.

• Ask the patient whether there is anything in his or her mouth (such as gum or candy) and, if so, to remove it.

• Ask about the current condition of the patient's teeth. Ask if he or she wears dentures. Ask whether teeth or dentures bother the patient now.

• Ask whether the patient notices any movements in his or her mouth, face, hands, or feet. If yes, ask the patient to describe them and to indicate to what extent they currently bother the patient or interfere with activities.

• Have the patient sit in chair with hands on knees, legs slightly apart, and feet flat on floor. (Look at the entire body for movements while the patient is in this position.)

• Ask the patient to sit with hands hanging unsupported -- if male, between his legs, if female and wearing a dress, hanging over her knees. (Observe hands and other body areas).

• Ask the patient to open his or her mouth. (Observe the tongue at rest within the mouth.) Do this twice.

• Ask the patient to protrude his or her tongue. (Observe abnormalities of tongue movement.) Do this twice.

• Ask the patient to tap his or her thumb with each finger as rapidly as possible for 10 to 15 seconds, first with right hand, then with left hand. (Observe facial and leg movements.)

• Flex and extend the patient's left and right arms, one at a time.

• Ask the patient to stand up. (Observe the patient in profile. Observe all body areas again, hips included.)

• Ask the patient to extend both arms out in front, palms down. (Observe trunk, legs, and mouth.)

• Have the patient walk a few paces, turn, and walk back to the chair. (Observe hands and gait.) Do this twice.

As you can see, the only one that requires the patient be touched is #9. At a county facility or community mental health clinic or hospital, you can train local staff to do #9 for you during the AIMS exam. 

AIMS Test Link

Sara Gibson, MD, Medical Director of Telemedicine, Northern AZ Regional Behavioral Health Authority, has a telemedicine AIMS demo online. Looking for the AIMS Test Demo? Click Here and Go to Slide 26.