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Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 284780, 8 pages
Research Article

Delirium in Australian Hospitals: A Prospective Study

1Queensland Dementia Training Study Centre, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia
2Centre for Psychiatry & Clinical Neuroscience, The University of Queensland, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Herston, QLD 4029, Australia
3School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
4Queensland Clinical Trials & Biostatistics Centre, School of Population Health, University of Queensland, The Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, QLD 4102, Australia
5Centre for Research in Geriatric Medicine, The University of Queensland, The Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, QLD 4102, Australia

Received 8 April 2013; Accepted 30 July 2013

Academic Editor: Francesc Formiga

Copyright © 2013 C. Travers et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. Australian data regarding delirium in older hospitalized patients are limited. Hence, this study aimed to determine the prevalence and incidence of delirium among older patients admitted to Australian hospitals and assess associated outcomes. Method. A prospective observational study ( ) of patients aged ≥70 years admitted to four Australian hospitals was undertaken. Trained research nurses completed comprehensive geriatric assessments using standardized instruments including the Confusion Assessment Method to assess for delirium. Nurses also visited the wards daily to assess for incident delirium and other adverse outcomes. Diagnoses of dementia and delirium were established through case reviews by independent physicians. Results. Overall, 9.7% of patients had delirium at admission and a further 7.6% developed delirium during the hospital stay. Dementia was the most important predictor of delirium at ( , 95% CI: 1.65–6.14) and during the admission ( ; 95% CI: 2.19–10.62). Delirium at and during the admission predicted increased in-hospital mortality ( , 95% CI: 1.27–21.24; , 95% CI: 9.30–103.78). Conclusion. These Australian data confirm that delirium is a common and serious condition among older hospital patients. Hospital clinicians should maintain a high index of suspicion for delirium in older patients.