Detecting and Addressing Delirium in Older Adults

Course Learning Outcomes

As a result of participating in this learning activity the learner will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an increase in knowledge of and method to screen for delirium in older adults as evidenced by passing the final exam with a score of 80% or greater at the end of the on-line learning activity.

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 on the final exam and complete the evaluation in order to 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: based on 60 minute

Estimated Time

The estimated time for completion for this activity is 1 hour(s).

Intended Audience

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

Course Planning Team

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

Course Expiration Date

As required by ANCC, this course will be reviewed and updated or discontinued on or before December 31, 2023.

NCPD - Nursing Continuing Professional Development
Rochester Community & Technical College is approved with distinction as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the Wisconsin Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.
Provider Approval Number: WICEAP-0149-007
HLC - Higher Learning Commission
Rochester Community and Technical College is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
HLC Institution ID:1399
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.

Mitigation of Relevant Financial Relationships: No planners or faculty have any financial relationships (with companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients) that are relevant to the content of this educational activity.

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.

Koizia, L et al. “Delirium After Emergency Hip Surgery-Common and Serious, But Rarely Consented For”. World Journal of Orthopedics. 2019. Vol 10, No 6; 228-234. https://spiral.imperial.ac.uk/bitstream/10044/1/70861/2/WJO-10-228.pdf
McCabe, Donna. “Try This: The Confusion Assessment Method (CAM). Issue 13”, Revised 2019. https://consultgeri.org/try-this/general-assessment/issue-25.pdf
Ng B., et al. “Incidence and Risk Factors of Delirium in Patients with Acute Ischaemic Stroke”. Neurology Asia. 2019; 24(4): 295-302. http://www.neurology-asia.org/articles/neuroasia-2019-24(4)-295.pdf
Nikooie R., et al. “Antipsychotics for Treating Delirium in Hospitalized Adults”. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2019: 171;485-495. Doi: 10.7326/M19.1860. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.7326/M19-1860
Oh, E et al. “Delirium in Older Persons: Advances in Diagnosis and Treatment”. JAMA. 2017. Sept. 318 (12) 1161-1174. Doi:10.1001/JAMA.2017.12067. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2654826

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