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Australas J Ageing. 2013 Mar;32(1):60-3. doi: 10.1111/ajag.12007. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

Management of delirium in medicine: experience of a Close Observation Unit.

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  • 1The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. eamonn_eeles@health.qld.gov.au



A new model of care for the management of patients with delirium was developed and evaluated.


A four-bedded Close Observation Unit (COU) was introduced. The model comprised education for assistants in nursing (AINs), environmental adaptations and AIN-to-patient ratio of 1:4. Outcomes in all patients with delirium before and after introduction of the new model of care were compared.


One hundred and five patients were admitted to COU, of whom 100 (95%) were diagnosed with delirium. In-hospital mortality improved after introduction of the unit (15% vs 5%; P = 0.002) without significant change in length of stay, discharge destination or falls frequency.


A dedicated unit for delirium management within medicine achieved a reduction in mortality.

© 2013 The Authors. Australasian Journal on Ageing © 2013 ACOTA.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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