The Portal of Geriatrics Online Education

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Delirium in Older Patients: An Online Case-Based Curriculum

Delirium in Older Patients: An Online Case-Based Curriculum

Boston University School of Medicine
Serena Chao, MD, PhD
Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
POGOe Id: 
Date Posted: 
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 

An interactive, multimedia online curriculum that teaches delirium. Using the virtual patient Mrs. Casimira Rivera, important teaching points are illustrated. Learners complete two modules that focus on the diagnosis, evaluation, and management of delirium. Prior to starting each individual module, learners watch video clips and read mock charts describing the patient’s complaints. The modules consist of didactic teaching PowerPoint slides alternating with multiple-choice questions designed to reinforce key concepts. Answers given to these questions are not graded. Copyright 2006, Trustees of Boston University

Educational objectives: 

At the end of the online curriculum, the learner will be able to:</p>

Make a diagnosis of delirium · Identify predisposing and precipitating risk factors of delirium</li>
Recognize delirium in its hypoactive presentation as well as its agitated, hyperactive presentation</li>
Choose evaluation that is needed to better refine the differential diagnosis of delirium, including additional history, physical exam and lab testing</li>
Develop treatment and management approaches to delirium in the hospitalized older patient</li>

Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

Intended Audience:

  • Fourth year medical students who are completing a required Geriatrics rotation.
  • Also appropriate for third year medical students during their third year Medicine clerkship.

Instructor Responsibility: Course instructors or rotation directors should be available to learners for questions regarding the content of this online curriculum.

Required Resources:

  1. RealPlayer, to view the videos
  2. PowerPoint

Procedures for Implementation:

  1. To use the curriculum, you will need to have a program called RealPlayer installed on your computer. Download it for FREE by visiting this website:
  2. Visit our website:
  3. Learner instructions and links to video clips, mock charts, and PowerPoint Modules A and B are located on this website.
  4. Learners should complete all components of Modules A and B.
  5. If instructors choose to grade completion of the modules as a clerkship exercise, BU has a 10-question quiz consisting of multiple choice and true-false items.

At BU, we require students to complete modules A and B by the end of the first week of their required fourth year geriatrics clerkship. On the last day of week 1, students are administered this paper quiz in a proctored setting. To receive a passing grade for the exercise, students must answer 7 out of 10 questions correctly (i.e. at least 70% correct). We give students an unlimited opportunity to retake this quiz (and redo the online curriculum) if they do not pass it on the initial attempt. If you would like a copy of the quiz, please contact Dr. Serena Chao at

Relationship to Other Educational Materials: This tool was designed to be a stand-alone curriculum in delirium. However, clerkship directors may use it as an adjunctive teaching resource. For example, it may be used as a supplement to existing delirium lectures or as a preparatory tool for small group case discussions.

Assessment of Learners: After learners complete the online curriculum, instructors may choose to administer a 10-question quiz consisting of multiple choice and true/false questions. Please see item 5 in “Procedures for Implementation”.

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Intended learner audience: 
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Already Expired Email Date: 
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 8:54pm
Already Expired Email 1 month date: 
Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 8:34am
Expired Email Date: 
Friday, March 30, 2018 - 1:22pm
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:
Dr. Serena Chao

Suggested Citation:
Dr. Serena Chao. Delirium in Older Patients: An Online Case-Based Curriculum. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2009 Available from:


Submitted by pardid01 on

Definitely brought home the difference between delirium and dementia in an interesting and engaging format.

Submitted by Hiliary on

Great material! You combined very useful material in an excellent, interactive way!

Submitted by kasra138 on

Great module to use on ICU and Wards. Thank you