by Shirley Sheroian
- Delirium is a disturbance of consciousness with impaired attention and disorganized thinking or perceptual disturbance that develops acutely, has a fluctuating cause, and with evidence there is a underlying physiologic or medical condition causing the disorder.
- Delirium is a common syndrome in hospitalized older adults that is associated with increased mortality, hospital costs, and long-term cognitive and functional impairment.
- Delirium can be prevented with recognition of high-risk patients, implementation of standardized delirium-reduction protocol, and proactive geriatric/psychiatric consultation.
- Risk factors and routine screening for delirium should be a part of comprehensive nursing care of older adults.
The following resources present information useful to healthcare professionals in the assessment and treatment of delirium in diverse patient populations.
- Nursing Standard of Practice Protocol: Delirium
- Delirium Instruments: evidence-based, patient-care program, provides optimal care for older persons in the hospital
- Delirium Information for VA Health Care Professionals: offers information on geriatric and extended care with a section on delirium in the long-term care setting.
Shirley Sheroian, PMHNP-BC