The short IQCODE as a predictor for delirium in hospitalized geriatric patients



Delirium is a serious complication, which occurs frequently in older patients with pre-existing cognitive impairment. There is a need for a simple tool to assess chronic cognitive impairment and the associated risk of delirium during hospitalization.


To assess the usefulness of the short IQCODE questionnaire in predicting delirium during hospitalization in older patients in a geriatric ward.


A prognostic study in the Geriatric Department at Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus Denmark. Consecutive patients were enrolled during March to December, 2017. After consent of the patient, the staff interviewed the relatives by phone using the short IQCODE questionnaire. Delirium was assessed morning and evening until discharge by the Confusion Assessment Method. The ability of short IQCODE to predict delirium was examined.


Three hundred and fifty-three patients were eligible, and 306 completed the IQCODE. Delirium occurred among 19% of the patients during hospitalization. The IQCODE score was associated with the risk of delirium with a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) area of 0.72. A cut-point of 3.3 could separate the patients in a larger group with a risk of approximately 26% to develop delirium and a smaller group having a risk of approximately 6%.


The IQCODE is a useful tool to predict delirium among older inpatients, but it may not stand alone. It can be a useful supplement to other clinical information and observations in detecting patients needing dementia-friendly treatment and care.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to S. Blandfort.

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Conflict of interest

The cost of data collection, analysis, and preparation of the manuscript was covered by the Department of Geriatrics, Aarhus University Hospital. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Research involving human participants

It was a quality development project with no intervention, the study was exempted from notification to the Central Denmark Region Ethical Committee (Inquiry number 200/2017). The study protocol was approved by the Danish Data Protection Agency, case no. 1-16-02-254-16. The study was registered at (Identifier NCT03175276).

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Blandfort, S., Gregersen, M., Rahbek, K. et al. The short IQCODE as a predictor for delirium in hospitalized geriatric patients. Aging Clin Exp Res 32, 1969–1976 (2020).

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  • Delirium predictor
  • Older patient
  • Geriatrics