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Outcomes of an innovative model of acute delirium care: the Geriatric Monitoring Unit (GMU)

Authors Chong MS, Chan M, Tay L, Ding YY

Received 7 January 2014

Accepted for publication 7 February 2014

Published 8 April 2014 Volume 2014:9 Pages 603—612

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S60259

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Mei Sian Chong, Mark Chan, Laura Tay, Yew Yoong Ding

Department of Geriatric Medicine, Institute of Geriatrics and Active Ageing, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore

Objective: Delirium is associated with poor outcomes following acute hospitalization. The Geriatric Monitoring Unit (GMU) is a specialized five-bedded unit for acute delirium care. It is modeled after the Delirium Room program, with adoption of core interventions from the Hospital Elder Life Program and use of evening light therapy to consolidate circadian rhythms and improve sleep in older inpatients. This study examined whether the GMU program improved outcomes in delirious patients.
Method: A total of 320 patients, including 47 pre-GMU, 234 GMU, and 39 concurrent control subjects, were studied. Clinical characteristics, cognitive status, functional status (Modified Barthel Index [MBI]), and chemical restraint-use data were obtained. We also looked at in-hospital complications of falls, pressure ulcers, nosocomial infection rate, and discharge destination. Secondary outcomes of family satisfaction (for the GMU subjects) were collected.
Results: There were no significant demographic differences between the three groups. Pre-GMU subjects had longer duration of delirium and length of stay. MBI improvement was most evident in the GMU compared with pre-GMU and control subjects (19.2±18.3, 7.5±11.2, 15.1±18.0, respectively) (P<0.05). The GMU subjects had a zero restraint rate, and pre-GMU subjects had higher antipsychotic dosages. This translated to lower pressure ulcer and nosocomial infection rate in the GMU (4.1% and 10.7%, respectively) and control (1.3% and 7.7%, respectively) subjects compared with the pre-GMU (9.1% and 23.4%, respectively) subjects (P<0.05). No differences were observed in mortality or discharge destination among the three groups. Caregivers of GMU subjects felt the multicomponent intervention to be useful, with scheduled activities voted the most beneficial in patient’s recovery from the delirium episode.
Conclusion: This study shows the benefits of a specialized delirium management unit for older persons. The GMU model is thus a relevant system of care for rapidly “graying” nations with high rates of frail elderly hospital admissions, which can be easily transposed across acute care settings.

Keywords: delirium, function, elderly

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