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Delirium—A Framework to Improve Acute Care for Older Persons


This article is based on the M. Powell Lawton Award Lecture that I delivered at the 2016 Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting. I provide an overview of my journey in geriatric medicine and delirium research. I created new measures, including the Confusion Assessment Method, for identification of delirium; conceptualized a multifactorial risk model; and developed and tested intervention strategies for delirium prevention. The Hospital Elder Life Program arose from this work. In addition, like Dr. Lawton, I am working to apply my work to the policy arena. As the population ages, we face an unprecedented opportunity to realize the full benefit of aging in our society, an untapped resource. The field of aging is facing innumerable challenges in terms of continued stigma and funding shortfalls for clinical care and research. I issue a call to action to clinicians, researchers, and leaders in aging to seize this opportunity to use our know-how and expertise to transform the experience of aging for all.