Delirium is a common illness among elderly hospitalized patients.However, under-recognition of the condition by non-psychiatrically trained personnel is prevalent.For instance, diagnostic terms regarding delirium related conditions vary, and include acute confusional state, acute brain syndrome, alteration of consciousness, acute encephalopathy and hepatic encephalopathy (if the delirium is due to poor hepatic function), and delirium features themselves also vary; some patients may be lethargic (hypoalert or hypoactive delirium - often confused with depression) while others may be agitated (hyperalert or hyperactive delirium).
Delirium is associated with poor treatment outcomes [4-10], such as morbidity, longer hospital stays, functional decline and mortality.
Many factors affect the prevalence of delirium in the elderly.
The reported sensitivity of this tool ranges from 94 to 100% and its specificity from 90 to 95% , with high inter-rater reliability.
It takes approximately ten to fifteen minutes to complete.
It has been reported that between 33 and 64% of delirium patients can be diagnosed by general practitioners [11-15]; though even among attending physicians, the underdiagnosis of delirium in elderly hospitalized patients is quite common (68%), leading to delays in treatment.