Delirium is one of the most frequent complications experienced in the ICU. Critical care nurses must be able to recognize delirium at the bedside. The CAM-ICU, presented in this article, is a valid, reliable, quick, and easy-to-use serial assessment tool for monitoring delirium in ICU patients.

Critical care nurses are well aware that many patients in medical and surgical intensive care units (ICUs) experience some degree of cognitive impairment, which may range from coma to delirium. In order to perform invasive procedures and provide lifesaving, supportive care, patients are given potent psychoactive drugs such as benzodiazepines and opiates, which often lead to increases in cognitive abnormalities. For many healthcare providers, cognitive impairment in the ICU is expected, temporary, and of little consequence; that is, it is part of the “ICU psychosis.” However, recent studies indicate that delirium, one of...

You do not currently have access to this content.