Prevalence and features of delirium in older patients admitted to rehabilitation facilities: a multicenter study

on behalf of the Italian Study Group on Delirium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Delirium is thought to be common across various settings of care; however, still little research has been conducted in rehabilitation. Aim: We investigated the prevalence of delirium, its features and motor subtypes in older patients admitted to rehabilitation facilities during the three editions of the “Delirium Day project”. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study in which 1237 older patients (age ≥ 65 years old) admitted to 50 Italian rehabilitation wards during the three editions of the “Delirium Day project” (2015 to 2017) were included. Delirium was evaluated through the 4AT and its motor subtype with the Delirium Motor Subtype Scale. Results: Delirium was detected in 226 patients (18%), and the most recurrent motor subtype was mixed (37%), followed by hypoactive (26%), hyperactive (21%) and non-motor one (16%). In a multivariate Poisson regression model with robust variance, factors associated with delirium were: disability in basic (PR 1.48, 95%CI: 1.17–1.9, p value 0.001) and instrumental activities of daily living (PR 1.58, 95%CI: 1.08–2.32, p value 0.018), dementia (PR 2.10, 95%CI: 1.62–2.73, p value < 0.0001), typical antipsychotics (PR 1.47, 95%CI: 1.10–1.95, p value 0.008), antidepressants other than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (PR 1.3, 95%CI: 1.02–1.66, p value 0.035), and physical restraints (PR 2.37, 95%CI: 1.68–3.36, p value < 0.0001). Conclusion: This multicenter study reports that 2 out 10 patients admitted to rehabilitations had delirium on the index day. Mixed delirium was the most prevalent subtype. Delirium was associated with unmodifiable (dementia, disability) and modifiable (physical restraints, medications) factors. Identification of these factors should prompt specific interventions aimed to prevent or mitigate delirium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1827-1835
Number of pages9
JournalAging Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number8
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

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