Detecting and Addressing Delirium in Older Adults

Increase knowledge of and screening for delirium in older adults by nurses and other healthcare professionals in home care.
Delirium is an often missed or misdiagnosed acute syndrome which commonly affects older adults. Its fluctuating course and overlap with other mental status disturbances can make it hard to detect. Due to the impact on physical and cognitive functioning, delirium is often associated with higher mortality rates in older adults. Timely detection and implementation of appropriate, evidence-based treatment options can improve the older adults chances for survival and quality of life.

This is a self-paced course with knowledge check activities. These non-graded activities allow you to check your understanding of the lesson objectives before proceeding on in the course. At the end of the course, you will be required to take the final exam. You must score 80% or higher to pass the course and obtain a certificate of completion.

  • State the differences between the types of delirium
  • Identify common symptoms experienced by those with delirium
  • Describe factors that can contribute to delirium
  • Discuss appropriate tools for assessing delirium
  • State the differences between delirium, dementia and depression
  • Describe barriers to identifying delirium and methods for overcoming these barriers
  • Describe evidence- based treatment recommendations for delirium including evidence underlying non-pharmacological approaches
Contact Time

1 contact hour(s) based on 60 minute contact hour

Estimated Time

The estimated time for completion for this activity is 1 hours

Intended Audience

This course is designed to meet the continuing education requirements of health care professionals such as Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses, Physical Therapists, Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Social Workers.

Course Planning Team

Kathy L. Richie, RN, BSN; Kristi Kiehne; MBA; Beth Schoenfeld, RN, MSN, CCP

Course Expiration Date

As required by ANCC, this continuing nursing education activity must carry an expiration date. You must complete the content, Final Quiz and Course Survey on or before that day. The last day to successfully complete this course and receive a Certificate of Completion will be December 31, 2019.

WNA/CEAP - Wisconsin Nurses Association
"Rochester Community and Technical College is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the Wisconsin Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation."
Provider Approval Number 0149-006;
Disclosure Statements:

Commercial Support: This course was developed in accordance with ANCC Commercial Support Guidelines. No commercial support was accepted for the development of this course.

Non-endorsement of Products and Off Label Use: This course provides a balanced view of therapeutic options. Use of generic names is always considered before using trade names. Consequently, if trade names are necessary, when available, we will use trade names from several companies. RCTC and the course planning team do not endorsed any products or drugs that may be mentioned in this course.

Author Updating

Beth Schoenfeld - RN MSN CCP

Beth is a Registered Nurse, with a Masters in Nursing with a clinical focus in Gerontology from the University of Evansville in Indiana. The majority of Beth's nursing career has been in home health care, working in both education and administration. Beth is also certified as a Chronic Disease Professional Health Coach (CCP) and has developed this program.

American Geriatrics Society. American Geriatrics Society Clinical Practice Guideline for Postoperative Delirium in Older Adults 2014
Delirium in the intensive care unit: a guide for families and patients. May 5, 2015 Retrieved 7/11/15 from www.ICUdelirium.org
Ferrell, Betty, and Nessa Coyle. 3rd Edition. April 12, 2010 Oxford University Press
Fick DM, Mion L. 2007. Issue D8. Retrieved 7/11/15 from http://consultgerirn.org/uploads/File/trythis/try_this_d8.pdf.
Inouye S. 2004: 71(11); 890-896 Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine.
Inouye S. NEJM. 2006: 354(11);1157-1166
Ouellette R, and Ouellette M. OR Nurse. 2010:4; 40-46
Manning W, MacLullich, A, Agar M, and Kelly, J. 2012. Delirium 2nd Edition.
Morrison R, Magaziner J, Gilbert M, et al. 2010: 58(1); 76-81.
Sands MB, Dantoc BP, Hartshorn A et al. Palliat Med. 2010: 561-565
Saxena S, Lawley D. Postgrad Med J. 2009;85:405-413
Staus R. Orthopaedic Nursing. 2011:30(4);231-238
American Psychiatric Association. 2010 Retrieved from: on May 12, 2015 http://psychiatryonline.org/pb/assets/raw/sitewide/practice_guidelines/guidelines/delirium.pdf

Materials used in connection with this course may be subject to copyright protection. Retention of the materials for longer than the class term, unauthorized further dissemination of the materials, or use of copyrighted materials in any way other than intended for this class is prohibited by Copyright and Teach Act laws.


This course was developed with Rochester Community and Technical College's Continuing Education and Workforce Development Division located in Rochester Minnesota. <br><br> Development was supported by the US Department of Health and Human Services - Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); Minnesota Geriatric Education Center (MAGEC) Grant # UB4HP19196; Subaward Grant # P001768405; Director: Robert L. Kane, MD.

Course Code
Course Category
Professional Health