The usefulness of motor subtypes of delirium is unclear due to inconsistency in subtyping methods and a lack of validation with objective measures of activity. The activity of 40 patients was measured over 24 h with a commercial accelerometer-based activity monitor. Accelerometry data from patients with DSM-IV delirium that were readily divided into hyperactive, hypoactive and mixed motor subtypes, were used to create classification trees that were subsequently applied to the remaining cohort to define motoric subtypes. The classification trees used the periods of sitting/lying, standing, stepping and number of postural transitions as measured by the activity monitor as determining factors from which to classify the delirious cohort. The use of a classification system shows how delirium subtypes can be categorised in relation to overall activity and postural changes, which was one of the most discriminating measures examined. The classification system was also implemented to successfully define other patient motoric subtypes. Motor subtypes of delirium defined by observed ward behaviour differ in electronically measured activity levels.