Collaborative Approach for Implementing Cognitive and Delirium Care in the Top End

Ms Deidre Widdall, Ms Debbie Roe

1Royal Darwin Hospital, Leanyer, Australia


In 2016 Top End Health Service (TEHS) Cognitive and Delirium Care in Hospital Project (CDCP) commenced a formal cognitive and delirium care pathway. This bought together a range of expertise over several clinical disciplines including Occupational Therapists. The project focused on adults only, though in a culturally and linguistically diverse population group with a high proportion of Aboriginal patients.

Delirium is a common medical emergency with a high mortality but unless specifically screened for can be under recognised, and in our hospital there was no formal guideline or pathway to help clinicians detect or treat.
The project highlights an all hospital approach aiming to develop a guideline for cognitive care, improving the safety and quality care while also developing culturally relevant protocols for our diverse and unique patient cohort in the Top End.

This presentation will outline the role of the Occupational Therapy Service at RDH in the collaborative working with the project officer and will focus on area where therapists have participated with the implementation of the pathway.

Areas will be highlighted that show the importance of Occupational Therapy had provided on our reference group, reviewing the screening tool on the pathway with other formal assessments. Also look at the protocol as an education resource and examine the effect of participating in a cognitive care workshop and what it entails to train ‘champions’

Lastly it will detail opportunities that the project has bought for therapists working alongside the project officer and to work at other sites within TEHS


Deidre has had a varied clinical background in the NT and SA mainly in rehabilitation and community nursing. With post graduate qualifications in stoma, wound and continence care and a Masters by research in Clinical Rehabilitation. Deidre is currently working as the project officer for the Top End Health Service Cognitive Care and Delirium Care Hospital Project

Debbie is a Senior Occupational Therapist currently working in for Royal Darwin Hospital in the Acute Medical Wards. Debbie has had a varied clinical background however her passion is better care for the older person.

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