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Implement Sci. 2010 Oct 22;5:81. doi: 10.1186/1748-5908-5-81.

A pragmatic study exploring the prevention of delirium among hospitalized older hip fracture patients: Applying evidence to routine clinical practice using clinical decision support.

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  • 1Foothills Medical Center, 1403-29th Street NW, Calgary, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Delirium occurs in up to 65% of older hip fracture patients. Developing delirium in hospital has been associated with a variety of adverse outcomes. Trials have shown that multi-component preventive interventions can lower delirium rates. The objective of this study was to implement and evaluate the effectiveness of an evidence-based electronic care pathway, which incorporates multi-component delirium strategies, among older hip fracture patients. We conducted a pragmatic study using an interrupted time series design in order to evaluate the use and impact of the intervention. The target population was all consenting patients aged 65 years or older admitted with an acute hip fracture to the orthopedic units at two Calgary, Alberta hospitals. The primary outcome was delirium rates. Secondary outcomes included length of hospital stay, in-hospital falls, in-hospital mortality, new discharges to long-term care, and readmissions. A Durbin Watson test was conducted to test for serial correlation and, because no correlation was found, Chi-square statistics, Wilcoxon test and logistic regression analyses were conducted as appropriate. At study completion, focus groups were conducted at each hospital to explore issues around the use of the order set. During the 40-week study period, 134 patients were enrolled. The intervention had no effect on the overall delirium rate (33% pre versus 31% post; p = 0.84). However, there was a significant interaction between study phase and hospital (p = 0.03). Although one hospital did not experience a decline in delirium rate, the delirium rate at the other hospital declined from 42% to 19% (p = 0.08). This difference by hospital was mirrored in focus group feedback. The hospital that experienced a decline in delirium rates was more supportive of the intervention. Overall, post-intervention there were no significant differences in mean length of stay (12 days post versus 14 days pre; p = 0.74), falls (6% post versus 10% pre; p = 0.43) or discharges to long-term care (6% post versus 13% pre; p = 0.20). Translation of evidence-based multi-component delirium prevention strategies into everyday clinical care, using the electronic medical record, was not found to be effective at decreasing delirium rates among hip facture patients.

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