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Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing

B | Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale

Psychiatric-Mental Health NursingB | Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale

The Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS) is an assessment tool used to document presence of tardive dyskinesia (TD), as well as to follow progression or remission of TD over time (Figure B1). TD can develop within three months of initial treatment with psychotropic medication; the AIMS is usually administered two to three times per year. There are different formats of the instrument (including fillable online), some with ranking by numbers and some with terms, such as mild, moderate, or severe. The scale is generally 12 questions with rating 0 (none) to 4 (severe). The items may be addressed by interview or observation. The client is observed standing, walking, and sitting. The presence of dentures is noted. The client is asked to extend the arms, move the legs and feet, open the mouth, and move the tongue while the examiner observes for abnormal movements, contractions, and grimaces. Lower scores in fewer categories are interpreted as requiring close monitoring, while higher scores in more categories indicate presence of TD. There are FDA-approved drugs to help stop the progression of TD.

A form used to assess abnormal involuntary movements using a scale of 1 to 4 and testing categories of facial and oral movements, extremity movements, trunk movements, global judgments, and dental status.
Figure B1 The Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale was first created in 1976 for assessing tardive dyskinesia. (credit: “Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale” by National Institute of Mental Health, Public Domain)

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