Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010 Dec;65(12):1387-92. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glq136. Epub 2010 Aug 2.

An ACE unit with a delirium room may improve function and equalize length of stay among older delirious medical inpatients.

Author information

  • 1Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, St. Louis VA Medical Center, and Department of Internal Medicine & Division of Geriatrics, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, 1402 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63104, USA.



Patients with delirium, compared with those without, are at increased risk for loss of function, longer hospital stays, and increased mortality. We studied the effect that an Acute Care of the Elderly Unit, which includes a delirium room, has on patients with delirium.


Retrospective observational study. Charts of 148 patients (≥65 years) admitted to an Acute Care of the Elderly Unit with a delirium room during a 4-month period were reviewed. Delirium on admission (prevalence) was based on physician-performed Confusion Assessment Method; delirium during hospital stay (incidence) was based on nurse-performed Confusion Assessment Method. Patients with delirium were compared with those without delirium regarding change in function between admission and discharge (activities of daily living), hospital length of stay, and mortality.


The prevalence of delirium was 16.2% (24/148), and the incidence was 16.1% (20/124). There were no significant differences between delirious and non-delirious patients in demographics or comorbidity scores. A significant interaction effect (p < .001) indicated improved activities of daily living (mean ± SD; scale 0-12) between admission and discharge among delirious patients (4.1 ± 4.6 and 6.1 ± 3.9) compared with non-delirious patients (7.4 ± 4.7 and 6.9 ± 4.5). There were no differences between delirious and non-delirious patients with reference to mean length of stay (6.4 ± 3.1 vs 5.9 ± 3.6 days, respectively; p = .461) and mortality (2 [4.5%] versus 2 [1.9%], respectively; p = .582).


Although this study sample was small, the results suggest that an Acute Care of the Elderly Unit with a delirium room may improve function among delirious patients and may equalize other outcomes compared with non-delirious patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk