Survey on Current Practice of Canadian Physicians Regarding the Investigation in Older Patients with Delirium
Keywords:delirium, older patients, investigation
The current literature provides heterogeneous recommendation regarding the investigation of older delirious patients, which may lead to over-testing. Our study aims to describe Canadian physicians’ current practice for the investigation of older patients with delirium. Our secondary objective is to define specific indications for performing a CT head scan in this population.
Design: cross-sectional online survey. Participants: physicians who conduct their clinical practice in Canada and who care for older patients with delirium. Potential study participants were reached through Canadian associations: Canadian Geriatrics Society, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, the Association des Médecins d’Urgence du Québec, and members of Choosing Wisely Canada.
We received 296 survey responses. More than 80% of respondents always order complete blood count, urea, and creatinine and electrolytes. Extended electrolytes, TSH, chest X-ray, electrocardiogram, urinalysis and urinary culture tests tend to be ordered somewhat frequently. Physicians mostly agreed to order a head CT scan for loss of consciousness, altered mental status, fall, and anticoagulation.
Physicians’ investigations for older patients with delirium are highly variable, even with the lack of evidence supporting a broad workup. Also, respondents mostly align with current recommendations of indications for CT head scans.
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