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Clin Geriatr Med. 2017 Aug;33(3):393-413. doi: 10.1016/j.cger.2017.03.004. Epub 2017 May 13.

Dissecting Delirium: Phenotypes, Consequences, Screening, Diagnosis, Prevention, Treatment, and Program Implementation.

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Division of Geriatrics, Department of Internal Medicine, Saint Louis University, 1402 South Grand Boulevard, Room M238, St Louis, MO 63104, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Geriatrics, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, No. 37, Guo Xue Xiang, Chengdu, Sichuan, China.
Center of Innovation in Long Term Services and Support, Providence VAMC, 830 Chalkstone Avenue, Building 32, Providence, RI 02908, USA; School of Public Health, Brown School of Medicine, 1215 S Main Street, Providence, RI 02903, USA.


Delirium is an acute change in attention and awareness that preferentially occurs in older patients with acute illness. This review provides an overview for clinicians with descriptions of the presentations (phenotypes), consequences, diagnosis, and screening of delirium. In addition, this review provides guidance for the challenges posed by delirium in a health care system, including implementation of delirium programs, tools to address the diagnosis and differential diagnosis of delirium, and a review of preventive and treatment studies with a goal of improving clinical practice.


Aged; Antipsychotics; Attention; Cognitive impairment; Delirium; Hospital; Implementation; Quality improvement

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