What are the main aims of the study?

People who are in hospital can develop short-term problems with thinking and concentration, or may become drowsy or agitated as a result of their condition. This problem is called ‘delirium’. Delirium can affect 1 in 8 general hospital patients and 1 in 4 patients in intensive care. Despite this, delirium is often not recognised in hospital, or in outpatients. To help address this issue, we have developed a new short test of concentration and thinking (‘DelApp’ test). This study is trialling the DelApp test in hospital patients and in people who are not in hospital.

What does it involve for a participant?

If you do decide to take part you will be seen by two trained researchers at your home. Each researcher will ask you to do short tests of thinking and concentration, lasting between 10 and 25 minutes in total. This will include our new ‘DelApp’ test where you will be asked to look at the screen of a mobile phone and count how many times a star shape is shown. The other tests are standard tests of memory and thinking used in clinical practice, such as asking you to listen to and repeat back a series of numbers. There will be a short break between the two assessments. With your permission, the study team will access your medical records up to ten years after the study is complete to see how you are doing.

How long is the study for?

Participants will only be assessed once. The assessment will last no longer than 25 minutes in total, and the visit (including short break) will be up to one hour.

What do you hope the outcomes of the study will be?

We hope that our test will be useful in improving recognition of delirium, which may lead to earlier and more appropriate treatment for affected patients. We hope that in the long-term the results of this research will lead to better awareness and recognition of delirium. This may result in improved treatment and care for affected people in the future.

Where is the study based?

The study is based at The University of Edinburgh, co-sponsored by the NHS Lothian Health Board. Participants will be visited in their own home to complete the assessment.

Who can take part?

We are looking for participants aged 65 and over with a diagnosis of dementia made by a qualified professional. Participants must be fluent in English. Unfortunately, participants with a history of photosensitive epilepsy or with visual and/or hearing impairments (registered blind, or deaf) cannot take part in the study.


You can see if you are eligible for this study or others around the nation by logging into your Join Dementia Research account.

Not registered with Join Dementia Research? Why not sign up today?