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BACKGROUND:We determined the impact of a system-wide multicomponent intervention to improve recognition and documentation of cognitive frailty syndromes on hospital administrative coding for delirium. METHODS:A multicomponent intervention including introduction of structured patient assessment including cognitive/delirium screen, regular audit/feedback and educational seminars was undertaken (2012-17). Sensitivity and specificity of administrative International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision (ICD-10) delirium codes for the gold standard of prospectively clinically diagnosed delirium were calculated in consecutive patients admitted to acute medicine over five 8-week cycles (2010-18). RESULTS:Among 1,281 consecutive unselected admissions to acute medicine overall (mean / standard deviation age = 70.0/19.2 years; n=615 (48.0%) male), 320 had clinical delirium diagnosis (n=220 delirium only; n=100 delirium on dementia). Sensitivity of delirium coding increased from 12.8% (95% confidence interval (CI) 5.6-26.7) in 2010 to 60.2% (95% CI 50.1-69.7; ptrend<0.0001) in 2018 while specificity remained at >99% throughout. CONCLUSION:A multicomponent intervention increased sensitivity of hospital administrative diagnostic coding for delirium almost six-fold without increasing the false positive diagnosis rate.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical medicine (London, England)

Publication Date





454 - 464


Centre for Prevention of Stroke and Dementia, Oxford, UK and NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Oxford, UK