Delirium is a syndrome characterized by a disturbance of consciousness and a change in cognition that develops over a short period of time. Delirium affecting ICU patients is complex and still poorly understood.
The most important step in delirium management is early detection. If delirium is detected, efforts should focus on managing the symptoms while identifying the cause and minimizing the impact of risk factors.
You can successfully prevent and manage delirium through these strategies:
- Recognize, manage, and mitigate risk factors (prevention and reduction strategies) for every patient
- Assess for delirium (every shift and as required)
- Document compliance with standardized protocol for management of delirium
- Support patients and families of patients with delirium (integration of family)
- Consider others to be part of the same system
- Change the work environment
- Standardize clinical processes
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