The Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) for the ICU-7 Delirium Severity Scale

Khan BA, et al. The Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU-7 Delirium Severity
Scale: A Novel Delirium Severity Instrument for Use in the ICU
. Crit Care Med. 2017 May;45(5):851-857.

Measurements and Main Results: Patients received the CAM-ICU, Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale (RASS), and Delirium Rating Scale-Revised (DRS-R)-98 assessments. A 7-point scale (0-7) was derived from responses to the CAM-ICU and RASS items. CAM-ICU-7 showed high internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha=0.85) and good correlation with DRS-R-98 scores (correlation coefficient=0.64). Known-groups validity was supported by the separation of mechanically ventilated and non-ventilated assessments. Median CAM-ICU-7 scores demonstrated good predictive validity with higher odds (OR=1.47; 95% CI=1.30-1.66) of inhospital mortality, and lower odds (OR=0.8; 95% CI=0.72-0.9) of being discharged home after adjusting for age, race, gender, severity of illness, and chronic comorbidities. Higher CAM-ICU-7 scores were also associated with increased length of ICU stay (p=0.001).

Conclusion: Our results suggest that CAM-ICU-7 is a valid and reliable delirium severity measure among ICU patients. Further research comparing it to other delirium severity measures, its use in delirium efficacy trials, and real life implementation is needed to determine its role in research and clinical practice.


Pavone KJ, et al. Evaluating delirium outcomes among older adults in the surgical intensive care unit. Heart Lung. 2020 Sep-Oct;49(5):578-584.

Results: In the pre- and post-intervention cohorts, 37% (37/101) and 33% (56/172) of patients screened positive for delirium, respectively. Following implementation of the delirium-informed care intervention, the number of days where no CAM-ICU assessment was performed significantly decreased (Pre 1.1 ± 1.4; Post 0.45 ± 0.65; p <0.001) and the number of negative assessments significantly increased (Pre 2.45 ± 1.66; Post 2.94 ± 1.69; p < 0.0178), indicating that nurses post-intervention were more consistently assessing for delirium.

Conclusions: This study failed to show improvements in patient outcomes (SICU and hospital length of stay, 30-day readmission and mortality rates), before and following a delirium-informed care intervention. However, positive trends in the data suggest that delirium-informed care has the potential to increase rates of assessment and delirium identification, thereby providing the foundation for reducing the consequences of delirium and improve patient-level outcomes. Further better controlled prospective work is needed to validate this intervention.

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