Symptoms of delirium | HQCA Focus

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Symptoms of delirium

Percentage of residents with symptoms of delirium. (see data dictionary)

Alberta Health Services, Analytics. “All 35 QIs by province/zone/facility”. (2019). [Dashboards showing RAI quality indicators, by province, zone, and site, by quarter]. AHS Tableau Reporting Platform. Retrieved from

What do you think?

  • Looking at these results over time, are there any trends?
  • Looking at these results over time and between zones, are there differences?
  • After selecting a facility, are the site results changing over time? How do the most recent quarter results compare to the provincial and zone results?
  • When comparing sites with similarities like zone, setting (e.g., urban or rural), operator type (e.g., private), and size, how are the results different? What factors could account for these differences?

Understanding "delirium"

Delirium causes a resident to become very distracted and more confused than normal. It is common and serious, however is often treatable. Symptoms of delirium will start suddenly and may come and go over the course of the day. Delirium can be very distressing for the resident and their family.

Delirium often goes unrecognized in older persons, and even more so in older persons living with dementia. Delirium can be confused with symptoms of agitated depression and dementia.

Considerations when viewing the results:

When thinking about this quality indicator, providers and leaders can consider a number of things to better understand and improve these results. Some questions they could ask before taking action include:

  • What are some of the common causes of delirium in long term care residents? How could these causes be reduced or avoided for residents?

Alberta Quality Matrix for Health

The Health Quality Council of Alberta uses the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health as a way of organizing information and thinking around the complexity of the healthcare system. This measure can be used as input to assess long term care’s performance in these dimensions of quality: Acceptability, Appropriateness, Effectiveness, and Safety.