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Module 1 - Delirium


  • Understand the serious impact of delirium on the hospitalized older adult
  • Identify signs and symptoms of delirium
  • Identify baseline risk factors or "predisposing factors" for delirium
  • Recognize common precipitating causes of delirium
  • Implement nursing interventions to prevent or manage delirium

Required Material

Please go through material in order listed.

  1. Read: Delirium in Older People. J Young and S Inouye.  BJM 2007;334;842-846
  2. View LectureNursing Assessment and Interventions for Delirium in Hospitalized Older Adult  (17 mins)
  3. View Video: Demonstrating the Use and Interpretation of the Short Confusion Assessment Method - Chapter 1  (from the Try This Series; must enter email address to access video - 14 mins)

  4. Explore: Comprehensive Try This Series, specifically look for Issue 13 on Delirium


  • The unfamiliar surroundings of the hospital, the patient's risk factors or vulnerability, and physiologic factors or new insults interact to precipitate delirium
  • Delirium is usually multi-factorial involving patient risks of age, and sensory, cognitive and functional deficits, and new insults such as environment, infection and medication
  • Recognition of risk factors and early interventions can reduce incidence of delirium and reduce morbidity and mortality


  1. Inouye S, Bogardus S, Charpentier P, Leo-Summers L, et al. (1999). A multicomponent intervention to prevent delirium in hospitalized older patients.  New England Journal of Medicine. 340(9): 669-676.
  2. Inouye S, van Dyck C, Alessi C, et al. (1990). Clarifying confusion: the confusion assessment method.  Annals of Internal Medicine. 113(12):941-948.
  3. Lee V (2005). Confusion: Geriatric Self-Learning Module. MEDSURG Nursing. 12(1), 38-41.
  4. Waszynski C (2007). Detecting delirium. AJN. 107(12): 50-61.

Web Resources