A Point Prevalence Study of Delirium in Italian Nursing Homes

Italian Study Group on Delirium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Delirium is a common geriatric syndrome. Few studies have been conducted in nursing home (NH) residents. The aim of this project was to perform a point prevalence study of delirium in Italian NHs.

METHODS: Data collected in 71 NHs are presented. Inclusion criteria were age ≥65 years and native Italian speaker. Exclusion criteria were coma, aphasia, and end-of-life status. Sociodemographic and medical data were recorded. Delirium was assessed using the Assessment Test for Delirium and Cognitive Impairment (4-AT). Patients with a 4-AT score ≥4 were considered to have delirium. Motor subtype was evaluated using the Delirium Motor Subtype Scale (DMSS).

RESULTS: A total of 1,454 patients were evaluated (mean age 84.4 ± 7.4 years, 70.2% female), of whom 535 (36.8%) had delirium. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, variables significantly associated with delirium were education (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.91-0.97), dementia (OR 3.12, 95% CI 2.38-4.09), functional dependence (OR 6.13, 95% CI 3.08-12.19 for ADL score 0; OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.03-3.84 for ADL score 1-5), malnutrition (OR 4.87, 95% CI 2.68-8.84), antipsychotics (OR 2.40, 95% CI 1.81-3.18), and physical restraints (OR 2.48, 95% CI 1.71-3.59).

CONCLUSION: Delirium is common in older NH residents. Simple assessment tools might facilitate its recognition in this vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-41
Number of pages15
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Cognitive Dysfunction/complications
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delirium/diagnosis
  • Dementia/diagnosis
  • Geriatric Assessment/statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes/statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics


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