Clinicians fequently under-recognize delirium. Physicians and nurses can be taught to recognize delirium by focusing on each of the components of the criteria for delirium. Teachers of physicians and nurses should emphasize the ability to recognize acuteness of onset, fluctuation of course, and attention deficits. Attention deficits in the clinical setting can be recognized by digit span testing, spelling words backwards, or assessing accessibility during the clinical interview. Attention can be scored by assigning a score from 0–10, or ranking as mild, moderate or severe, the patients ability to engage in the medical interview.

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