Validation of the delirium observation screening scale in a hospitalized older population

J Hosp Med. 2016 Jul;11(7):494-7. doi: 10.1002/jhm.2580. Epub 2016 Mar 11.


Delirium is challenging to diagnose in older populations. It is often reversible, and when detected, treatment can improve patient outcomes. Delirium detection currently relies on trained staff to conduct neurocognitive interviews. The Delirium Observation Screening Scale (DOS) is a screen designed to allow faster, easier identification of delirium. In this validation study, conducted at an academic tertiary care center, we attempted to determine the accuracy of the DOS as a delirium screening tool in hospitalized patients over 64 years old. We compared DOS results to a validated delirium diagnostic tool, the Delirium Rating Scale-Revised-98. We also assess the user-friendliness of the DOS by nurses via electronic survey. In 101 assessments of 54 patients, the DOS had sensitivity of 90% and specificity of 91% for delirium. The DOS is an accurate and easy way to screen for delirium in older inpatients. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2016;11:494-497. © 2016 Society of Hospital Medicine.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Delirium / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires