Delirium and Other Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults in an Emergency Department

Bruce J. Naughton, Maureen B. Moran, Hayssam Kadah, Yolanda Heman-Ackah, John Longano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


See related editorial, "Recognition of Cognitive Problems in Older Adults by Emergency Medicine Personnel.". Study objective: To determine the prevalence of delirium and other alterations in mental status in older adults in the emergency department setting. Design: Prospective, cross-sectional study. Setting: Private, nonprofit, academic medical center in a densely populated urban area. Participants: One hundred eighty-eight adults 70 years or older who presented to the ED. Interventions: None. Results: Delirium and other alterations in mental status were present in 39.9% of the patients studied; 24% of these patients had delirium. Age and severity of illness were positively correlated with alteration in mental status. Patients with alterations in mental status were more likely to be admitted to an inpatient unit. Among those admitted from home, alterations in mental status in the ED were associated with a higher likelihood of institutionalization at discharge. Conclusion: Alterations in mental status are prevalent in ED patients. Older adults with alterations in mental status, particularly alterations in consciousness and delirium, are at high risk for admission to an inpatient unit and institutionalization after discharge. Standardized mental status testing identified high-risk older adults in the ED. [Naughton BJ, Moran MB, Kadah H, Heman-Ackah Y, Longano J: Delirium and other cognitive impairment in older adults in an emergency department. Ann Emerg Med June 1995;25:751-755.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-755
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Emergency Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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