International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 1194–1200 | Cite as

Current practice and opinions of hospital pharmacists regarding their role in the screening, prevention and treatment of delirium

  • Gizat M. KassieEmail author
  • Lisa M. Kalisch Ellett
  • Tuan A. Nguyen
  • Elizabeth E. Roughead
Research Article


Background An interdisciplinary approach is fundamental for effective prevention and treatment of delirium. Pharmacists could play a role in identifying and resolving medication-related delirium. However, little is known about their role in delirium care. Objective The main purpose of this survey was to assess the current practice and opinions of pharmacists concerning their involvement in screening, prevention and treatment of delirium. Setting Pharmacists in public and private hospitals in Australia. Method A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a pilot tested web-based questionnaire which was distributed primarily via a link in the electronic newsletter of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia. Main outcome measure Number and proportion of respondents answering questions related to the practice and perceptions of pharmacists in delirium management. Results Responses from 106 pharmacists were included in the analysis. Most respondents believed that pharmacists could play a role in prevention (92%) and screening (62%) of patients for delirium. However, in practice only 8% of pharmacists reported that they had ever screened a patient for delirium using a validated tool and 79% indicated that pharmacists were never or rarely involved in delirium treatment. When pharmacists did make recommendations half of the respondents said that pharmacists’ recommendations were frequently or always accepted by the delirium treating teams. Conclusion Hospital pharmacists are underutilised in the prevention and management of delirium. Strategies to increase their involvement in the prevention and management of delirium should be implemented.


Australia Delirium Elderly Older people Pharmacists’ perception Practice model Survey 



We thank the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia, Australasian Delirium Association, New South Wales Therapeutic Advisory Group and individuals who helped us in distributing the survey. Our gratitude also goes to reviewers of the questionnaire and pharmacists who participated in piloting the survey.


GMK is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship. LMKE and TAN are both supported by NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellowships (LMKE Grant identification number APP1101788, TAN Grant identification number APP1103860). EER is supported by an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship (Grant identification number APP1110139). The contents of the published material are solely the responsibility of the individual authors and do not reflect the views of NHMRC.

Conflicts of interest

Authors of this study confirm that there are no conflicts of interest related to this paper.

Supplementary material

11096_2017_547_MOESM1_ESM.docx (171 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 171 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, Sansom Institute for Health ResearchUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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