International Psychogeriatrics

Delirium: Advances in Research and Clinical Practice
Diagnostic Criteria and Assessment Instruments

Review of Research Instruments and Techniques Used to Detect Delirium

Sue Levkoff a1, Benjamin Liptzin a2, Paul Cleary a3, Catherine H. Reilly a4 and Denis Evans a5
a1 Department of Social Medicine, Geriatric Education Center, Division on Aging, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
a2 Baystate Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
a3 Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
a4 Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
a5 Center for Research on Health and Aging, Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

Article author query
levkoff s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
liptzin b   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
cleary p   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
reilly c   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
evans d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Over the past several decades, numerous investigators have studied the syndrome of delirium. Researchers have relied on a number of different case finding methods to detect the syndrome. This paper provides an overview of instruments used in studies of delirium. We assess the validity and reliability of these instruments and compare the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods. We then present the rationale for the development of the Delirium Symptom Interview, an instrument constructed for use in the Commonwealth-Harvard Study of delirium in elderly hospitalized patients.