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Delirium research in care homes: Trojan Horses and Holy Grails!

Posted on 28 June 2016

Najma Siddiqi is a clinical senior lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences and Hull York Medical School. In a blog post for the British Geriatrics' Society, she discusses her paper "The PiTSTOP study: a feasibility cluster randomized trial of delirium prevention in care homes for older people" which was published in the journal Age and Ageing.

Delirium (often called ‘Acute Confusional State’) is a common and serious illness among older people. It can be very distressing for patients, their families, and for healthcare staff; and can lead to worsening dementia, hospitalisation and death.

There is relatively little research on delirium in general, but this is particularly true of delirium in the care home setting. This is despite the fact that residents of care homes are likely to be at particularly high risk of delirium by virtue of the high prevalence of dementia, older age, poor mobility and physical illness.

In the blog post, Dr Siddiqi discusses the challenges of delivering high-quality care in care homes, how delirium can be prevented, and the findings of the PiTSTOP study. Dr Siddiqi calls for a definitive trial of delirium prevention in long-term care and highlights the challenges that this sort of work will face.