The effects of delirium can lead to behaviors that compromise patient safety, delay recuperation, and increase morbidity or mortality. The 4 cardinal features of delirium are acute onset with fluctuation, inattention, disorganized thinking, and altered level of consciousness. This study by Mangnall and colleagues aimed to determine the prevalence and predictors of postoperative delirium. Using the Confusion Assesment Method, they found the following:

  • At least 1 episode of delirium occurred in 1 in 3 patients.

  • Patients with delirium were older, unmarried, and had impaired mobility and an intensive care unit admission.

  • Delirium, often not detected, is an indicator of physiological abnormalities, such as sepsis, myocardial infarction, or metabolic issues, which are underdiagnosed.

  • Nurses are often the first to notice a change in a patient’s cognitive function and can talk with family who are familiar with the patient’s usual mental functioning.

  • Timely recognition and...

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