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1.  The Neecham Confusion Scale and the Delirium Observation Screening Scale: Capacity to discriminate and ease of use in clinical practice 
BMC Nursing  2007;6:3.
Delirium is a frequent form of psychopathology in elderly hospitalized patients; it is a symptom of acute somatic illness. The consequences of delirium include high morbidity and mortality, lengthened hospital stay, and nursing home placement. Early recognition of delirium symptoms enables the underlying cause to be diagnosed and treated and can prevent negative outcomes. The aim of this study was to determine which of the two delirium observation screening scales, the NEECHAM Confusion Scale or the Delirium Observation Screening (DOS) scale, has the best discriminative capacity for diagnosing delirium and which is more practical for daily use by nurses.
The project was conducted on four wards of a university hospital; 87 patients were included. During 3 shifts, these patients were observed for symptoms of delirium, which were rated on both scales. A DSM-IV diagnosis of delirium was made or rejected by a geriatrician. Nurses were asked to rate the practical value of both scales using a structured questionnaire.
The sensitivity (0.89 – 1.00) and specificity (0.86 – 0.88) of the DOS and the NEECHAM were high for both scales. Nurses rated the practical use of the DOS scale as significantly easier than the NEECHAM.
Successful implementation of standardized observation depends largely on the consent of professionals and their acceptance of a scale. In our hospital, we therefore chose to involve nurses in the choice between two instruments. During the study they were able to experience both scales and give their opinion on ease of use. In the final decision on the instrument we found that both scales were very acceptable in terms of sensitivity and specificity, so the opinion of the nurses was decisive. They were positive about both instruments; however, they rated the DOS scale as significantly easier to use and relevant to their practice. Our findings were obtained from a single site study with a small sample, so a large comparative trial to study the value of both scales further is recommended. On the basis of our experience during this study and findings from the literature with regard to the implementation of delirium guidelines, we will monitor the further implementation of the DOS Scale in our hospital with intensive consultation.
PMCID: PMC1852304  PMID: 17394635
2.  Recognition of delirium in ICU patients: a diagnostic study of the NEECHAM confusion scale in ICU patients 
BMC Nursing  2005;4:7.
A delirium, is a serious, high-frequency complication in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. The consequences of this complication range from high morbidity and mortality to greater need for nursing care. Despite these, delirium is often not recognized and there for not treated. In this study a nursing screening instrument, the NEECHAM confusion scale, was studied for early recognition of delirium ICU patients. This scale proved valid and reliable in several studies in the general hospital population.
In this study validity and reliability were tested in a prospective cohort of 105 patients. Gold standard for delirium was an independent DSM-IV diagnosis. User friendliness was tested by structured evaluation of nurses' experiences working with the scale.
The NEECHAM confusion scale showed high internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha 0.88) and an interrater reliability of Cohen's Kappa 0.60. The concurrent validity with the DSM-IVcriteria showed a strong link (chi-square 67.52, p [less than or equal to] 0.001). Sensitivity was high, 97% and specificity was good 83%. ICU nurses completed the NEECHAM confusion rating in 3.69, ± 1.21 minutes average. In general the nurses were positive about the NEECHAM confusion scale. They were able to collect data during regular care, but experienced problems in rating the scale in intubated patients. The items in themselves were clear, the content validity, measured by the language used was rated good.
The psychometric characteristics of the NEECHAM confusion scale of this ICU study are generally consistent with validity research previously reported for the general hospital population. The psychometric characteristics and the ease of use of the NEECHAM confusion scale enables ICU nurses to early recognize delirium. Further study, especially in intubed patients is recommended.
PMCID: PMC1352361  PMID: 16351715

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