A core outcome set for interventions to prevent and/or treat delirium in palliative care

Delirium is a serious neurocognitive syndrome which is highly prevalent in people approaching the end of life. Existing trials of interventions to prevent or treat delirium in adults receiving palliative care report heterogeneous outcomes.

To undertake an international consensus process to develop a core outcome set for trials of interventions, designed to prevent and/or treat delirium, for adults receiving palliative care.

The core outcome set development process included a systematic review, qualitative interviews, modified Delphi method and virtual consensus meetings using nominal group technique (Registration http://www.comet-initiative.org/studies/details/796). Participants included family members, clinicians, and researchers with experience of delirium in palliative care.

Forty outcomes were generated from the systematic review and interviews informing the Delphi Round 1 survey. The international Delphi panel comprised 92 participants including clinicians (n=71, 77%), researchers (n=13, 14%), and family members (n=8, 9%). Delphi Round 2 was completed by 77 (84%) participants from Round 1. Following the consensus meetings, four outcomes were selected for the core outcome set: (1) delirium occurrence (incidence and prevalence); (2) duration of delirium until resolution defined as either no further delirium in this episode of care or death; (3) overall delirium symptom profile (agitation, delusions or hallucinations, delirium symptoms and delirium severity); (4) distress due to delirium (person with delirium, and/or family and/or carers (including healthcare professionals)).

Using a rigorous consensus process, we developed a core outcome set comprising four delirium-specific outcomes for inclusion in future trials of interventions to prevent and/or treat delirium in palliative care.


Anna Bryans, Najma Siddiqi, Lisa Burry, Mike Clarke, Jonathon Koffman, Meera R Agar, Louise Rose


Journal: Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (JPSM)
Pages: -
Year: 2023
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2023.05.013

Further Study Information

Current Stage: Completed
Funding source(s):

Health Area

Disease Category: Neurology

Disease Name: Delirium

Target Population

Age Range: Unknown

Sex: Either

Nature of Intervention:

Stakeholders Involved

Study Type

- COS for clinical trials or clinical research


- Consensus meeting
- Delphi process
- Interview
- Systematic review