Validation of Delirium Screening Tools in ER Lacking

(HealthDay News) — Data about ideal screening for delirium in elderly patients presenting in the emergency department are scarce, according to a review published online December 18 in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Michael A. LaMantia, MD, from the Indiana University Center for Aging Research in Indianapolis, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature search to identify articles reporting on the assessment of older adults’ mental status for delirium.

The researchers found 22 articles that met study inclusion criteria. These studies yielded seven screening instruments, although only one had undergone initial validation for use in the emergency department environment, and a second instrument is currently undergoing validation. While validation of instruments for the emergency department has been minimal, study results indicate that several delirium screening tools have been used in this environment. There was little information suggesting the ideal scheduling of a delirium assessment to maximize the recognition of this condition in the emergency department, nor was there much information on the ideal interval for such a delirium screening process.

“Research will be needed both to validate delirium screening instruments to be used for investigation and clinical care in the emergency department and to define the ideal timing and form of the delirium assessment process for older adults,” the authors write.

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