Older adults are at risk for delirium when admitted to the hospital because of predisposing risk factors such as advanced age, history of alcohol and/or tobacco use, and other physical and psychological comorbidities. These risk factors are not modifiable. Additional contributing factors are the effects of critical illness such as sepsis, hypoxia, or dehydration; the unintended consequences of our treatments such as unrelieved pain or too much pain medication, restraints or administration of benzodiazepines; and then the effects of the environment and sleep deprivation. Many of these contributing factors can be mitigated by understanding the effects on the older adult patient.1
Evaluate current staff knowledge about delirium in older adults, including presentation, assessment tools, and contributing factors.
Develop personal and staff education based on identified gaps in knowledge.
Adopt delirium prevention strategies for your patient population. For example, start new medications at...