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Friday, December 13, 2019
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Delirium and dementia project

Introduction of a gold standard, electronic assessment tool embedded in the Electronic Patient Record to screen at risk patients for possible delirium and un-diagnosed dementia. For patients and their families this will mean faster diagnosis and quicker treatment, together with earlier discharge from hospital and less chance of readmission.

Delirium is a clinical syndrome which is acute in onset and involves abnormalities of attention, thought and level of consciousness. It is often poorly recognised and under-diagnosed. Delirium is treatable and one in three cases are preventable. It is, however, poorly detected and, if not detected early, results in poor clinical outcomes. Delirium is common, affecting around 1 in 8 hospital inpatients. Patients with dementia, hip fracture and older people are particular at risk groups for delirium. Outcomes for delirium are poor with 1 in 5 deaths in a month; increased length of hospital stay; higher risk of readmission; and higher rates of institutionalisation. The mortality rate for delirium is similar to that of myocardial infarction and sepsis. However it is not currently seen as a medical emergency.


Not all people admitted to hospital with dementia have received a diagnosis. By detecting undiagnosed dementia and making an early referral for diagnostic assessment patients and carers may get earlier access to treatment and support.