Author(s): Eden BM, Foreman MD
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Abstract Delirium, a syndrome that results in high morbidity and mortality rates in the elderly, continues to be underrecognized by physicians and nurses. Factors influencing the underrecognition of delirium are specific to individual institutions and their health care providers. The factors leading to the underrecognition of delirium must be identified so that changes can be made to increase early recognition. A case study conducted in a critical care unit in a midwestern hospital from interviews of nurses, chart audit, and patient observation, identified two major problems associated with the lack of recognition of delirium in that institution: (1) lack of knowledge on the part of nurses about the criteria and methods of detecting delirium, and (2) ineffective communication between all staff members in relaying symptoms of onset of the disorder. As a result of this study, staff education, assessment protocols, and improved communication and documentation techniques are indicated as targeted methods for improving recognition and treatment of delirium in this setting. Similar case studies can be performed to evaluate institutional practice, and thereby identify barriers to early recognition of delirium.
This article was published in Heart Lung
and referenced in Advanced Practices in Nursing