OBJECTIVES: To measure the burden of delirium in older adults with or without Alzheimer disease or related disorders (ADRDs). DESIGN: Prospective, observational cohort. SETTING: Inpatient hospital and study participants' homes. PARTICIPANTS: A subset (n = 267) of older medical and surgical patients and their caregivers enrolled in the Better Assessment of Illness study. MEASUREMENTS: Delirium burden was measured using the DEL-B instrument (range = 0-40, with higher scores indicating greater burden) in caregivers (DEL-B-C) and patients 1 month after hospitalization. Severity of cognitive impairment (Montreal Cognitive Assessment [MoCA]), delirium presence (Confusion Assessment Method [CAM]), and delirium severity (CAM-Severity [CAM-S]) were measured during hospitalization and at 1-month follow-up. ADRD diagnosis was determined by a clinical consensus process. RESULTS: For patients with (n = 56) and without (n = 211) ADRD, both DEL-B instruments had good internal consistency. DEL-B-C scores had a median (interquartile range) among caregivers of patients with and without ADRD of 9 (5-15) and 5 (1-11), respectively (P <.05). If the patient developed delirium, caregivers experienced greater burden (β[delirium × ADRD] = −.29; P =.42), regardless of ADRD status. Further, caregiver burden was modestly correlated with patient MoCA scores (Spearman correlation coefficient, ρ = −0.18; P =.01). Patients with ADRD who developed delirium self-reported less burden than those without ADRD (β[delirium × ADRD] = −.67; P =.044). As with caregivers, delirium burden was modestly correlated with patient MoCA score (ρ = −0.18; P =.005) and correlated with the CAM-S in patients without ADRD (ρ = 0.38; P <.001) but not for patients with ADRD (ρ = −0.07; P =.61). CONCLUSIONS: Delirium resulted in the same degree of increased caregiver burden regardless of whether a patient had ADRD, signifying delirium is equally stressful to caregivers, even among those with experience caring for someone with a chronic cognitive disorder. Delirium burden is only modestly associated with degree of cognitive impairment, suggesting that other aspects of delirium contribute to burden. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:2587–2592, 2019.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geriatrics and Gerontology