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Delirium affects around 1 in 5 older inpatients and is associated with substantial harm including falls, increased length of stay and rehabilitation needs. Long-term outcomes from delirium are increasingly recognised, though it is not clear if delirium is unmasking a previously unrecognised dementia or if in some cases delirium is directly accelerating the trajectory of cognitive decline.

This seminar will review some of the epidemiological approaches used to track cognitive function before, during and after acute hospitalisation and delirium. We will discuss some of the methodological challenges with reference to current cohort studies.