Professor Inouye Sharon Inouye is the pre-eminent delirium expert in the world. She invented the first diagnostic tool for delirium, the CAM, and the first multicomponent intervention for delirium, HELP.
Dr Inouye’s research focuses on delirium and functional decline in hospitalised older patients, resulting in more than 200 peer reviewed original articles to date. She is the overall principal investigator of the Successful Aging after Elective Surgery (SAGES) study, an $11 million Program Project on delirium funded by the National Institute on Aging, as well as 5 other active research projects.
Dr Inouye developed and validated the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM), the most widely-used instrument for the identification of delirium. She conceptualized the multifactorial model for delirium, which focuses on identification of predisposing and precipitating factors for delirium. Her work involves translating theories of clinical investigation into practical applications that directly improve the quality of life for older adults. She developed the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP), a multicomponent intervention strategy designed to prevent delirium by targeting six delirium risk factors. HELP was successful in reducing delirium by 40 percent and was published in a landmark study in the New England Journal of Medicine. This study was the first to show that a substantial proportion of delirium is preventable.
Additionally, HELP has been shown to reduce falls, functional decline, and hospital costs, and to improve patient, family, and nursing satisfaction. The HELP program has been adopted by over 200 hospitals worldwide.