The Portal of Geriatrics Online Education

Recognizing and managing delirium among hospitalized older adults

Recognizing and managing delirium among hospitalized older adults

University at Buffalo State University of New York School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
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This interactive DVD was developed as part of a quality improvement project designed to improve recognition of cognitive impairment and delirium among hospitalized older adults. The DVD was designed to review the prevalence and outcomes of delirium; train physicians and nurses on mental status assessment procedures, including identification of likely underlying etiologies; train on bed-side detection of delirium, and introduce guidelines for medication management of cognitively impaired and delirious older adults. Please email Reema Sutton at to obtain the DVD.

Educational objectives: 

Learners should acquire skills in bedside assessment of mental status and differentiation of delirium from other cognitive states. The DVD is designed to enhance knowledge about delirium and improve assessment and diagnostic skills. A review of current knowledge about delirium is presented, including prevalence and outcomes. Common etiologies are reviewed as well as the steps necessary to identify potentially delirious patients. The knowledge gained is then tested with assessment of actual patients who present a range of clinical problems. The DVD includes fundamentals in the assessment and management of cognitive impairment and delirium. It provides for evaluation of actual patients and outlines elements of a successful program to reduce delirium among hospitalized older adults. The DVD format allows for presentations ranging from 20 minutes to 2.5 hours or longer. It is appropriate for beginners who have little understanding of cognitive assessment, as a review for experienced clinicians with limited focus on delirium and for experienced clinicians who are considering designing a new program for cognitively impaired older adults at significant risk of developing delirium.

Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

The DVD has been widely used at multiple medical schools, hospitals, and health organizations to provide training for medical students, post-graduate trainees, practicing physicians and their colleagues in nursing. All necessary information and evaluations are contained within the DVD; individual study is quite feasible. The DVD, however, was originally designed for small group education conferences. A facilitator with knowledge of the DVD, an ability to identify the clinical signs of delirium as demonstrated on the DVD, and comfort with eliciting responses from an audience is likely to be effective. Physicians and nurses alike have used the DVD to provide training in their respective disciplines. The only resources required are a DVD player and a television or LCD projector (for group study). To obtain the DVD and price, please email Reema Sutton at

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Conflict of Interest Disclosure: 
No, I (we) have nothing to disclose.
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Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 4:05pm
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Suggested Citation:
Bruce Naughton. Recognizing and managing delirium among hospitalized older adults. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2009 Available from: