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Open Access Open Badges Correspondence

Improving recognition of delirium in clinical practice: a call for action

Andrew Teodorczuk12*, Emma Reynish34 and Koen Milisen56

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Ageing and Health, Campus for Vitality, Newcastle University, Newcastle Tyne, England, UK

2 Education Department, North Tyneside Hospital, Northumbria Healthcare Trust, North Shields, NE29 8NH, UK

3 Department of Geriatric Medicine, Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland, UK

4 Dementia Service Development Centre, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland, UK

5 Centre for Health Services and Nursing Research, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

6 Leuven University Division of Geriatric Medicine, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

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BMC Geriatrics 2012, 12:55  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-12-55

Published: 14 September 2012



The purpose of this correspondence article is to report opinion amongst experts in the delirium field as to why, despite on-going training for all health professionals, delirium continues to be under recognised. Consensus was obtained by means of two conference workshops and an online survey of members of the European Delirium Association.

Major barriers to recognition at an individual level include ignorance about the benefit of treating delirium. At an organisational level, reflecting socio-cultural attitudes, barriers include a low strategic and financial priority and the fact that delirium is an orphan condition falling between specialties.

Delirium; Education; Training; Geriatric psychiatry