Author(s): Roberts B
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Abstract Delirium is an acute, reversible disorder of attention and cognition and may be viewed as cerebral dysfunction similar to the failure of any other organ. The development of delirium is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, extended length-of-stay in the intensive care unit and longer time spent sedated and ventilated. Nearly every clinical, pharmacological and environmental factor present and necessary in the ICU setting has the potential to cause delirium. Since all of these factors cannot be removed, it is paramount to increase the awareness amongst health care professionals so as to minimise under-recognition and encourage future research into factors that may improve the long-term outcome for ICU patients. There is a need for user-friendly, validated assessment tools for the intubated and ventilated ICU patient, which can be applied at the time of ICU admission without the need for lengthy psychiatric assessment. Nursing professionals are at the forefront of those who are able to provide holistic care through meaningful conversation and empathetic touch. A 6-month Quality Improvement (QI) project screening patients for signs of delirium provided a foundation for discussion. All patients admitted to ICU for more than 72 h, with a hospital length-of-stay less than 96 h prior to ICU admission were screened. Patients admitted following neurological insults or with pre-existing altered mental state were excluded. The QI project showed the incidence of delirium to be 40\% of the total sample (n = 73) in a mixed medical/surgical and elective/emergency patient population.
This article was published in Intensive Crit Care Nurs
and referenced in Journal of Trauma & Treatment