The incidence of delirium, its predisposing factors, clinical profile, associated symptoms and consequences were investigated in 54 consecutive patients, 19 men and 35 women, mean age 77.1 years, admitted to an ‘ortho-geriatric unit’ with femoral neck fractures. The incidence of postoperative delirium was 15/54 (27.8%) and a logistic regression model found that dementia and a prolonged waiting time for the operation increased the risk of postoperative delirium. Delirium during the night was most common but in 5 patients the delirium was worst in the morning. Patients with delirium suffered more anxiety, depressed mood, emotionalism, delusions and hallucinations. A larger proportion of patients with delirium could not return to their previous dwelling, and a larger proportion of delirious patients were either dead, wheelchair-bound or bedridden at the 6-month follow-up (p < 0.005). The conclusion is that delirium is common and has a serious impact on the outcome after hip fracture surgery.
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