Skip to main content

An 18-month prospective cohort study of functional outcome of delirium in elderly patients: activities of daily living

  • Stephen Vida (a1) (a2), Guillaume Galbaud du Fort (a1) (a3) (a2) (a4), Ritsuko Kakuma (a3) (a4), Louise Arsenault (a2), Robert W. Platt (a4) (a5) and Christina M. Wolfson (a3) (a4)...

Objectives: To examine delirium, chronic medical problems and sociodemographic factors as predictors of activities of daily living (ADL), basic ADL (BADL) and instrumental ADL (IADL).

Methods: A prospective cohort study of four groups of elderly patients examined in the emergency department (ED): those with delirium, dementia, neither, and both. All were aged 66 years or older and living at home. Delirium was assessed with the Confusion Assessment Method and dementia with the Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly. Demographic variables and chronic medical problems were ascertained with questionnaires. Outcome was ADL at 6, 12 and 18 months, measured with the ADL subscale of the Older Americans Resources and Services instrument.

Results: Univariate analyses suggested significantly poorer ADL, particularly IADL, at 18 months in the delirium versus the non-delirium group, in the absence of dementia only. Statistically significant independent predictors of poorer ADL at 18 months in the non-dementia groups were poorer initial ADL, stroke, Parkinson's disease, hypertension and female sex. Independent predictors of poorer BADL at 18 months in the non-dementia groups were poorer initial BADL, Parkinson's disease, stroke, cancer, colds/sinusitis/laryngitis, female sex and hypertension. Independent predictors of poorer IADL at 18 months in the non-dementia groups were poorer initial IADL, stroke, never-married status, colds/sinusitis/laryngitis, arthritis and hypertension, with Parkinson's disease showing a non-significant but numerically large regression coefficient.

Conclusion: Rather than finding delirium to be a predictor of poorer functional outcome among survivors, we found an interaction between delirium and dementia and several plausible confounders, primarily chronic medical problems, although we cannot rule out the effect of misclassification or survivor bias.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: Stephen Vida, McGill University Health Centre, Allan Memorial Pavilion, P2.062-1025 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1A1, Canada. Phone: +514-934-1934, ext. 34539; Fax: +514-843-1431. Email:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Psychogeriatrics
  • ISSN: 1041-6102
  • EISSN: 1741-203X
  • URL: /core/journals/international-psychogeriatrics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title

Vida Supplementary Material

 PDF (181 KB)
181 KB


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 42 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 130 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.