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The prevalence, incidence and risk factors for delirium in Dutch nursing homes and residential care homes


H. P. J. van Hout, Department of General Practice, EMGO-Institute, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail:



To estimate and compare the prevalence and incidence of delirium and its risk factors in residents of Dutch nursing homes and residential care homes.


Data were extracted from the Long-Term Care Facility (inter RAI-LTCF) version of the Resident Assessment Instrument, which was filled in a routine care cohort for a total of 3627 residents. 828 residents of six nursing homes and 1365 residents of 23 residential homes were included in the analyses. Delirium was defined as a positive score on the adjusted Nursing Home–CAM.


The prevalence of delirium was 8.9% in the nursing homes and 8.2% in the residential homes. The incidence was highest in the nursing homes with 20.7 versus 14.6 per 100 person-years. Multivariate tests of risk factors for developing delirium included chair restraints (OR 2.3; 95% CI 1.27–4.28), dementia (odds ratio (OR) 3.3; 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.03–5.24) and Parkinson's disease (OR 2.3; 95% CI 0.96–5.63) for residents in nursing homes, and dementia (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.31–2.55) and fall incidents (OR 1.7; 95% CI 1.20–2.48) for residents in residential care homes.


The prevalence and incidence of delirium was high in both nursing homes and residential care homes. More focus on modifiable risk factors such as the use of restraints in nursing homes and fall incidents in residential care homes may help to prevent delirium. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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