A Quality Assurance Study to Assess the One-Day Prevalence of Delirium in Elderly Hospitalized Patients

Carrie A. McAiney, Christopher Patterson, Esther Coker

Abstract


Background

Research indicates that 40% of hospital-acquired delirium cases may be preventable. However, despite its clinical significance, delirium often goes unrecognized or is misdiagnosed. The purpose of this study was to assess the need for delirium education in acute care hospitals in Hamilton, Ontario.

Methods

Approximately 100 health professionals were trained as delirium screeners. On ‘Delirium Day’, all patients ≥ 65 years of age in non-critical care areas in all acute care sites in Hamilton were identified. Those willing to take part in the prevalence study were assessed for delirium using the Standardized Mini-Mental State Examination and the Confusion Assessment Method. The Research Ethics Boards at Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton approved this quality assurance project.

Results

Of the 562 patients eligible for screening, eight were excluded and six did not have sufficient data collected to assess for delirium. Of the 548 individuals screened for delirium, 10.6% screened positive. Prevalence estimates ranged by site from 0% to 21% and type of unit from 3.8% to 16%. Recognition of delirium by nursing staff was fair; but, documentation was usually absent.

Conclusion

While the prevalence rates were somewhat lower than in other studies, the results support the need for education among health-care providers in the prevention, identification, and management of delirium.


Keywords


delirium; elderly; acute care; education; healthcare providers

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5770/cgj.15.15

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ISSN: 1925-8348 (Online)