To investigate whether an education program and a reorganization of nursing and medical care improved the outcome for older delirious patients.
Prospective intervention study.
Department of General Internal Medicine, Sundsvall Hospital, Sweden.
Four hundred patients, aged 70 and older, consecutively admitted to an intervention or a control ward.
The intervention consisted of staff education focusing on the assessment, prevention, and treatment of delirium and on caregiver-patient interaction. Reorganization from a task-allocation care system to a patient-allocation system with individualized care.
The patients were assessed using the Organic Brain Syndrome Scale and the Mini-Mental State Examination on Days 1, 3, and 7 after admission. Delirium was diagnosed according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, criteria.
Delirium was equally common on the day of admission at the two wards, but fewer patients remained delirious on Day 7 on the intervention ward (n=19/63, 30.2% vs 37/62, 59.7%, P=.001). The mean length of hospital stay+/-standard deviation was significantly lower on the intervention ward then on the control ward (9.4+/-8.2 vs 13.4+/-12.3 days, P