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Pflege. 2017 Jul;30(4):199-208. doi: 10.1024/1012-5302/a000564.

Prevalence, influencing factors, screening and diagnosis of delirium at stationary hospitalised patients in a Swiss acute Hospital. A pilot study

[Article in German]

Author information

1 Entwicklung und Qualitätsmanagement Pflege, Kantonsspital St. Gallen.
2 Institut für Angewandte Pflegewissenschaften, Fachhochschule St. Gallen.
3 Ressort Pflege/MTT, Praxisentwicklung Pflege, Universitätsspital Basel.
4 Klinik für Psychosomatik, Kantonsspital St. Gallen.
5 Sydney Nursing School, The University of Sydney.



Deliria have a massive effect on patients, from increased duration of hospitalization to higher mortality. Risk factors such as age, deprivation of substances, immobility as well as stress are known among others. Particularly in vulnerable persons minor factors can lead to a delirium. European studies report a prevalence rate between 17 % and 22 %, but can’t be compared to the Swiss hospital system. No national delirium prevalence data in acute hospitals is known.


On the one hand to measure the delirium prevalence in an acute hospital, to elaborate patient characteristics of delirium patients based on group comparison and to test sensitivity and specifity of the applied instruments, on the other hand to get information about the practicality of the study execution.


Delirium point prevalence measurement has been conducted in a prospective cross-sectional study. On one determined day data of patients have been collected by nurses in an acute hospital.


A prevalence point rate of 14 % (6 / 43) based on CAM has been identified. Significant differences were found between the groups in respect of age, discipline, number of ICD diagnoses, care dependency and in all the three delirium instruments. Delirium patients were not only longer hospitalized but had almost twice as many ICD diagnosed, were high-maintenance patients and mostly didn’t claim to be in pain.


This is the first prevalence study in a Swiss acute hospital. The utilized instruments are reliable and the study execution is practicable and could be conducted with a larger sample. Most known risk factors were confirmed.


Delir; Prävalenz; Schweizer Akutspital; Swiss acute hospital; delirium; prevalence


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