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Delirium Research Program

Weill Cornell Delirium Research Program

The Pediatric Delirium Work Group (PDWG) at Weill Cornell Medicine is a multidisciplinary team of expert pediatric practitioners and researchers dedicated to investigating and caring for patients with pediatric delirium, a frequent and serious complication of childhood illness. Our representatives include pediatricians, nurses, intensivists, psychiatrists, therapists encompassing child life, physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapy, pastoral care providers, social workers and - most importantly - family representatives. 

Pediatric Delirium

Delirium is defined as an acute and fluctuating change in mental status that occurs as a side effect of a serious underlying illness, or as a complication of its treatment. It affects more than 20 percent of critically ill children, and is associated with increased length of hospitalization, higher medical costs, patient and family distress, and child mortality. Delirium is almost always reversible, and generally occurs early in the course of a child’s hospitalization. When diagnosed promptly, it is amenable to treatment.

Cornell Assessment of Pediatric Delirium (CAPD)

Delirium in children is often multifactorial – a combination of an underlying illness, side effects of medication, and the unnatural hospital environment.

Signs & Symptoms

A child with delirium displays altered cognition (thinking) and awareness. He or she may appear agitated, or conversely, apathetic and withdrawn. A child with delirium almost always has disrupted sleep.


The Cornell Assessment of Pediatric Delirium (CAPD) is an observational bedside tool developed by our group and used worldwide for diagnosing delirium in children of all ages.

Treatment & Prevention

Research has shown that deep sedation (especially with a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines), prolonged bed rest, and sleep deprivation all increase the risk of delirium. By means of minimizing sedation, encouraging patient mobilization and optimizing the hospital environment to promote sleep, we hope to decrease delirium rates.

Pediatric Delirium Mortality


Delirium in Critically Ill Children Common, May Go Undetected

March 28, 2017

Delirium in Critically Ill Children Admitted to Intensive Care Units Common and Widespread

March 14, 2017
Weill Cornell Medicine

Study Underscores Need to Screen Pediatric Cancer Patients for Delirium

November 21, 2017
Weill Cornell Medicine


Contact Us

Our active clinical research projects identify the mechanisms underlying delirium, and investigate approaches to prevention and treatment. We encourage interested parties to contact us for information and endowment opportunities.

Chani Traube, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.C.C.M.

Director, Weill Cornell Pediatric Delirium Work Group
Associate Professor, Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine
(212) 746-3056

Pediatric Delirium Work Group

Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine
525 E. 68th St., M-508, Box 437
New York, NY 10065

Pediatrics Weill Cornell Medicine Appointments & Referrals: (646) 962-KIDS (646) 962-5437 Chair's Office: Weill Cornell Medicine 525 E 68th St.
Box 225
New York, NY 10065 (646) 962-5437