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Pilot study of a nonpharmacological intervention for delirium superimposed on dementia


Kolanowski, Ann M., Fick, Donna M., Clare, Linda, Steis, Melinda, Boustani, Malaz, Litaker, Mark


Research In Gerontological Nursing, Volume: 4, No.: 3, Pages.: 161-167

Year of Publication



Delirium is a common neuropsychiatric syndrome that occurs most frequently in older adults with dementia and is referred to as delirium superimposed on dementia (DSD). Our aim in this pilot project was to demonstrate that implementation of cognitively stimulating activities is clinically feasible and has potential to reduce delirium severity and duration and functional loss in post-acute care settings. We randomized newly admitted participants with DSD to treatment (n = 11) and control (n = 5) conditions and conducted daily blinded assessments of delirium, delirium severity, and functional status for up to 30 days. The control group had a significantly greater decrease in physical function and mental status over time compared with the intervention group. Delirium, severity of delirium, and attention approached significance, and improvement over time favored the intervention group. Although not statistically significant, a difference in mean (7.0 versus 3.27) and median (7.0 versus 3.0) days with delirium was found, with the control group having more days of delirium.; Copyright 2011, SLACK Incorporated.


aged, cognitive therapy, complications, delirium, dementia, dsd, feasibility studies, humans, of, on, pilot, pilot projects, superimposed, therapy, treatment

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Other, Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes

ADLs/IADLs, Other

Type of Interventions

Non-pharmacological Treatment

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Adult safeguarding and abuse detection/prevention, Other