Assessing severity of delirium by the Delirium Observation Screening Scale

Scheffer, A. C., van Munster, B. C., Schuurmans, M. J. & de Rooij, S. E., Mar-2011, In : International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 26, 3, p. 284-291 8 p.

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Objective: Delirium is the most common acute neuropsychiatric disorder in hospitalized elderly. Assessment of the severity of delirium is important for adjusting medication. The minimal dose of medication is preferable to prevent side effects. Only few nurse based severity measures are available. The aim of this study was to validate a scale developed to assess symptoms of delirium during regular nursing care, the Delirium Observation Screening (DOS) Scale, for monitoring severity of delirium.

Method: Delirious patients of 65 years and older were included. Delirium was diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria and the Confusion Assessment Method. The DOS Scale was compared to the Dutch version of the Delirium Rating Scale-Revised-98 (DRS-R-98). Global cognitive functioning was assessed by the Informant Questionnaire Cognitive Decline in the Elderly-Short Form (IQCODE-SF) and the KATZ-ADL Scale was used for functional impairment.

Results: Ninety seven delirious patients were included: 41 hip fracture patients and 56 medical patients. The correlation between total DRS-R-98 scores and DOS Scale scores was 0.67 (p = 0.01). For the cognitive impaired group (IQCODE-SF >= 3.9) this correlation was 0.61 (p = 0.01); for the group with no global cognitive impairment, this correlation was 0.67 (p = 0.01). Correlations between DRS-R-98 and DOS Scale for hypoactive, hyperactive and mixed delirium subtype were 0.40 (p = 0.32), 0.44 (p = 0.01) and 0.69 (p = 0.05), respectively.

Conclusions: The DOS Scale is able to measure severity of delirium. In routine daily clinical practice, the DOS Scale is a time-efficient, easy to use and reliable method for measuring and monitoring severity of delirium by nurses. Copyright (C) 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-291
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2011
Externally publishedYes



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