Delirium is common among the critically ill. Nonpharmacologic interventions are reportedly effective in reducing incident delirium, but limited data specific to this population exist.
To assess the efficacy and describe the implementation strategy of a multicomponent intervention to prevent delirium in an intensive care unit.
A before-and-after study was conducted in an intensive care unit between May 2014 through August 2015. Adult participants were enrolled consecutively, excluding only those who refused to participate. Tailored interventions took available evidence into consideration. Components included early mobilization, physical therapy, reorientation, cognitive stimulation, drug reviews, environmental stimulation, avoidance of sensory deprivation, pain control, restraint use avoidance, and family participation. Incident delirium was assessed twice daily using the Confusion Assessment Method for the Intensive Care Unit. Multivariate logistic regression was used to control for confounders.
The study included 227 patients (54.7% male; mean [SD] age, 63.3 [18.3] years). Our strategy significantly reduced delirium (from 38% to 24%; relative risk, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.40–0.94; P = .02), an association that remained significant after adjusting for confounders. Adherence rates were more than 85% in all intervention domains (except daily reorientation) that were overseen by health care providers.
The strategy was successful in reducing delirium. Self-removals of invasive implements decreased, an observation that has not been previously described. No difference in mortality rate was seen, as has been reported in other studies. Early participation of the whole team, shared leadership, and the provision of concrete tasks were key to the success of this multicomponent intervention.