Delirium in Older Persons: Evaluation and Management.

Delirium in Older Persons: Evaluation and Management.

Am Fam Physician. 2014 Aug 1;90(3):150-158

Authors: Kalish VB, Gillham JE, Unwin BK

Abstract
Delirium is defined as an acute, fluctuating syndrome of altered attention, awareness, and cognition. It is common in older persons in the hospital and long-term care facilities and may indicate a life-threatening condition. Assessment for and prevention of delirium should occur at admission and continue throughout a hospital stay. Caregivers should be educated on preventive measures, as well as signs and symptoms of delirium and conditions that would indicate the need for immediate evaluation. Certain medications, sensory impairments, cognitive impairment, and various medical conditions are a few of the risk factors associated with delirium. Preventive interventions such as frequent reorientation, early and recurrent mobilization, pain management, adequate nutrition and hydration, reducing sensory impairments, and ensuring proper sleep patterns have all been shown to reduce the incidence of delirium, regardless of the care environment. Treatment of delirium should focus on identifying and managing the causative medical conditions, providing supportive care, preventing complications, and reinforcing preventive interventions. Pharmacologic interventions should be reserved for patients who are a threat to their own safety or the safety of others and those patients nearing death. In older persons, delirium increases the risk of functional decline, institutionalization, and death.

PMID: 25077720 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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