Prospective observational study of dementia and delirium in the acute hospital setting

Travers, Catherine , Byrne, Gerard, Pachana, Nancy, Klein, Kere, & Gray, Len (2013) Prospective observational study of dementia and delirium in the acute hospital setting. Internal Medicine Journal, 43(3), pp. 262-269.

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Background: Dementia and delirium appear to be common among older patients admitted to acute hospitals, although there are few Australian data regarding these important conditions.

Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and incidence of dementia and delirium among older patients admitted to acute hospitals in Queensland and to profile these patients.

Method: Prospective observational cohort study (n = 493) of patients aged 70 years and older admitted to general medical, general surgical and orthopaedic wards of four acute hospitals in Queensland between 2008 and 2010. Trained research nurses completed comprehensive geriatric assessments and obtained detailed information about each patient’s physical, cognitive and psychosocial functioning using the interRAI Acute Care and other standardised instruments. Nurses also visited patients daily to identify incident delirium. Two physicians independently reviewed patients’ medical records and assessments to establish the diagnosis of dementia and/or delirium.

Results: Overall, 29.4% of patients (n = 145) were considered to have cognitive impairment, including 102 (20.7% of the total) who were considered to have dementia. This rate increased to 47.4% in the oldest patients (aged 90 years). The overall prevalence of delirium at admission was 9.7% (23.5% in patients with dementia), and the rate of incident delirium was 7.6% (14.7% in patients with dementia).

Conclusion: The prevalence of dementia and delirium among older patients admitted to acute hospitals is high and is likely to increase with population aging. It is suggested that hospital design, staffing and processes should be attuned better to meet these patients’ needs.

Impact and interest:

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12 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 64984
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: aged, delirium, dementia, hospital, prevalence
DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.2012.02962.x
ISSN: 1445-5994
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Geriatrics and Gerontology (110308)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2013 01:27
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 12:22

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