The Portal of Geriatrics Online Education

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University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine
Jose Ness, MD
Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
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This product is part of the GeriaSims series of interactive patient care simulations. In this simulation, learners ask history questions, perform virtual physical exams, order tests, consult with specialists and other health care professionals, and make decisions about diagnosis, treatment, and other issues in the care of an elderly patient with delirium. Learners receive feedback about all actions and decisions. They may also ask questions of a simulated mentor to access didactic information about delirium. Depending on the learner's level of experience and interest, the simulation takes one to two hours to complete.

GeriaSims interactive patient care simulations are available online, both to accredited medical education institutions for use with students, residents, and fellows. For more information about the GeriaSims series, go to

GeriaSims are also available to practicing physicians, physician assistants, nurses and nurse practitioners for CME or CEU credit. To receive continuing education credit, you must register for the Geriatric Lecture Series. For more information, go to

Educational objectives: 

GeriaSims are interactive experiences during which the learner diagnoses and treats simulated patients. The simulations are designed to provide interactive learning experiences about geriatric syndromes and other issues that are often encountered in the primary care of elderly patients. Learners will be able to improve their overall knowledge about managing common geriatric syndromes and to understand the unique health care needs of older patients. They will also learn about differences in the management of common clinical conditions, and how physiologic changes associated with aging impact management. They will develop a working knowledge of important legal and ethical issues associated with end-of-life care; and understand and apply principles of the multi-disciplinary geriatric assessment.

The learning objectives of this particular simulation are:

  1. Recognize delirium, and distinguish delirium from dementia, depression, and other disorders.
  2. Identify possible predisposing and precipitating causes for a patient's delirium.
  3. Narrow the list of possible causes of delirium by using appropriate tests and assessment tools.
  4. Treat the precipitating causes of a patient's delirium, as well as its symptoms.
  5. Develop a discharge plan that includes family education and minimizes medication use.
Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

These simulations were developed using a software template created by the University of Iowa. They are used in primary care residency programs and rotations for medical students in the clinical years at the University of Iowa, and also offered online for CME credit.

To use GeriaSims, a 256K or faster DSL, cable modem, LAN/Intranet, or other broadband Internet connection; Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher, Netscape 8.0 or higher, Firefox 1.0 or higher, Mozilla 1.7.5 or higher, or Safari 1.3 or higher web browser, with Java script enabled; version 8 or later of the Flash Player; and Adobe Reader 5 or later are required. A sound card and speakers are recommended. GeriaSims are best viewed at a screen resolution of 1024 x 768, but can be viewed at 800 x 600.

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Suggested Citation:
Jose Ness. Delirium. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2009 Available from: