Delirium and Antipsychotic Medications at Hospital Intake: Screening to Decrease Likelihood of Aggression in Inpatient Settings Among Unknown Patients With Dementia

Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2019 Mar;34(2):118-123. doi: 10.1177/1533317518809345. Epub 2018 Nov 1.


For individuals with dementia, disorientation and both external and internal stimuli may trigger behaviors that are difficult to manage or dangerous to health-care providers. Identification of correlational risk factors to aggressive behavior in patients who are unknown to the hospital can allow providers to adapt patient care quickly. Records for patients aged 60+ who spent at least 24 hours at the hospital other than in the psychiatric unit were used (N = 14 080). The first 4000 records and every 10th person who met criteria (N = 5008) were searched for documentation of dementia (n = 505). Logistic regressions and χ2 tests were used to examine relationships between variables. Recognition of delirium (P = .014, Exp(B) = 2.53), coupled with an existing prescription for antipsychotic medication at intake (P < .001, Exp(B) < 4.37), may be a reliable means of screening for risk and intervening at the earliest possible contact, improving quality of care and safety in acute care for individuals with dementia.

Keywords: behavior; delirium; medication; screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Delirium / drug therapy*
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Risk Factors


  • Antipsychotic Agents