Delirium is a common, morbid and mortal condition and studies of hospital coding repeatedly demonstrate that delirium is likely under recognised. For numerous reasons, the diagnosis of delirium has been the remit of specialised clinicians and formal diagnostic tools which were time consuming and required specialist training.
The 3D-CAM is a new rapid diagnostic tool which has high sensitivity and specificity for delirium and has been validated in the acute care setting including patients with cognitive impairment. It requires minimal training to use and takes approximately 3 minutes to use at the bedside. Combined with rapid screening tools (The 4AT score) which are already implemented in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH), the recognition and diagnosis of delirium can now be made with greater confidence by a large spectrum of clinicians from junior medical and allied health staff to senior staff.
Improving the recognition of delirium enables clinicians to provide safer care by reducing unnecessary treatment and medications, which has been demonstrated to occur when the delirium is not recognised by clinicians.
The Diagnosis: Delirium project is being undertaken in conjunction with the Clinical Excellence Queensland Improvement Fellowship.