Development of a Core Outcome Set for Effectiveness Trials of Interventions to Prevent and/or Treat Delirium in Palliative Care (Del-COrS): Participants Needed for an International Delphi Survey

What outcomes should be included in future studies of interventions to prevent and/or treat delirium in palliative care?

The Del-COrS international collaboration led by Professor Louise Rose, King’s College London, UK, would like to invite EAPC members and supporters to take part in two online Delphi surveys to hear your views.


Professor Louise Rose, Del-COrS research group lead.

Delirium in Palliative Care

Delirium is a severely debilitating condition which impacts a person’s ability to process information, interact and perceive the world around them. It affects up to 88 per cent of people at the end of life1 and the cause is often multifactorial. Patients and family members who have suffered from delirium report extreme distress which has a profound impact on the quality of dying and death experience. For healthcare professionals, recognising, assessing, and treating delirium in the context of a life-limiting illness can be complex.

This has prompted a substantial increase in the number of effectiveness trials of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to prevent or to treat delirium in palliative care. The Del-COrS research group aims to develop international consensus on a core outcome set for future research studies of these interventions, using the methods recommended by the Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials (COMET) Initiative.2

Core Outcome Sets

To help patients, their family, and health professionals make decisions about treatments for delirium in palliative care, we need evidence about what works best. Treatments are developed and tested by researchers to make sure they work and are safe. To do this, researchers need to look at the effects those treatments have on patients.

Researchers do this by measuring an ‘outcome’. For example, in a study of how well a new delirium treatment works in a palliative care setting, ‘outcomes’ might include:

  • A measure of how fast the delirium goes away.
  • The distress caused by delirium.

When a set of main outcomes has been agreed, it’s called a ‘core outcome set’. If all studies of delirium in palliative care then measured and reported these core outcomes, we could bring together all the studies to get a better understanding of which treatments work best.

We are currently looking for volunteers, including patients, family members, carers, healthcare professionals and researchers with experience of delirium in palliative care.

In this study, you would participate in two online Delphi surveys to give your views on the outcomes that are important to include in future studies of interventions to prevent or to treat delirium in palliative care. We will subsequently invite you to a meeting to discuss findings from these Delphi surveys and vote on outcomes you consider important.

We anticipate that the first survey will start in April 2021 and this will remain open for approximately six weeks. Each survey is brief and should take five to 10 minutes to complete.

Join us and have your say!

For more information, or to volunteer for this study, please email Dr Anna Bryans (Research Team Member).

This study has received ethics clearance through the Health Research Authority and Research Ethics Boards at King’s College London and University of Toronto.

Want to know more about Core Outcome Sets?

Check out the Del-COrS study protocol published in BMJ Open.


  1. Watt CL, Momoli F, Ansari MT, Sikora L, Bush SH, Hosie A, Kabir M, Rosenberg E, Kanji S, Lawlor PG. The incidence and prevalence of delirium across palliative care settings: A systematic review. Palliat Med. 2019;33(8):865-877.
  2. Williamson PR, Altman DG, Bagley H, Barnes KL, Blazeby JM, Brookes ST, Clarke M, Gargon E, Gorst S, Harman N, Kirkham JJ, McNair A, Prinsen CAC, Schmitt J, Terwee CB, Young B. The COMET Handbook: version 1.0. Trials. 2017;18(Suppl 3):280.

EXPLORE NEW DIMENSIONS  17th EAPC World Congress Online  #EAPC2021 – interactive live sessions 6 to 8 October 2021.

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