Key Concepts

  • NPI remains first-line treatment in management of delirium
  • Routine cognitive assessments and screenings can identify those at risk for delirium and identify modifiable risk factors
  • Implementing environmental and behavioral modifications and NPIs can maximize the safety of the patient and others
  • In older adults, multicomponent NPIs and some single-component NPIs be can effective in preventing delirium
  • Multicomponent NPIs are effective in preventing incident delirium among older inpatients
    • Effects seemed stable across settings


Be vigilant about delirium; this may be the only sign of a medical emergency and should be reversible.

Safe and effective management necessitates adequate assessment of the etiology of the agitation.

Martinez F, et al. Age Ageing. 2015;44(2):196–204.

Multicomponent interventions significantly reduced incident delirium (RR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.63–0.85, P<.001) and accidental falls during hospitalization (RR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.21–0.72, P=.003), without evidence of differential effectiveness according to ward type or dementia rates.

Nonsignificant reductions in delirium duration, hospital stay, and mortality were found as well.


CI, confidence interval

RR, relative risk