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An Implementation-Effectiveness Study of a Perioperative Delirium Prevention Initiative for Older Adults.

  • Author(s): Donovan, Anne L;
  • Braehler, Matthias R;
  • Robinowitz, David L;
  • Lazar, Ann A;
  • Finlayson, Emily;
  • Rogers, Stephanie;
  • Douglas, Vanja C;
  • Whitlock, Elizabeth L;
  • Anesthesia Resident Quality Improvement Committee
  • et al.

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No data is associated with this publication.


Postoperative delirium is a common and serious problem for older adults. To better align local practices with delirium prevention consensus guidelines, we implemented a 5-component intervention followed by a quality improvement (QI) project at our institution.


This hybrid implementation-effectiveness study took place at 2 adult hospitals within a tertiary care academic health care system. We implemented a 5-component intervention: preoperative delirium risk stratification, multidisciplinary education, written memory aids, delirium prevention postanesthesia care unit (PACU) orderset, and electronic health record enhancements between December 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018. This was followed by a department-wide QI project to increase uptake of the intervention from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. We tracked process outcomes during the QI period, including frequency of preoperative delirium risk screening, percentage of "high-risk" screens, and frequency of appropriate PACU orderset use. We measured practice change after the interventions using interrupted time series analysis of perioperative medication prescribing practices during baseline (December 1, 2016 to November 30, 2017), intervention (December 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018), and QI (July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019) periods. Participants were consecutive older patients (≥65 years of age) who underwent surgery during the above timeframes and received care in the PACU, compared to a concurrent control group <65 years of age. The a priori primary outcome was a composite of perioperative American Geriatrics Society Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use (Beers PIM) medications. The secondary outcome, delirium incidence, was measured in the subset of older patients who were admitted to the hospital for at least 1 night.


During the 12-month QI period, preoperative delirium risk stratification improved from 67% (714 of 1068 patients) in month 1 to 83% in month 12 (776 of 931 patients). Forty percent of patients were stratified as "high risk" during the 12-month period (4246 of 10,494 patients). Appropriate PACU orderset use in high-risk patients increased from 19% in month 1 to 85% in month 12. We analyzed medication use in 7212, 4416, and 8311 PACU care episodes during the baseline, intervention, and QI periods, respectively. Beers PIM administration decreased from 33% to 27% to 23% during the 3 time periods, with adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.97 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.95-0.998; P = .03) per month during the QI period in comparison to baseline. Delirium incidence was 7.5%, 9.2%, and 8.5% during the 3 time periods with aOR of delirium of 0.98 (95% CI, 0.91-1.05, P = .52) per month during the QI period in comparison to baseline.


A perioperative delirium prevention intervention was associated with reduced administration of Beers PIMs to older adults.

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