Delirium: diagnosis, prevention and management – NICE – 28 July 2010

Posted on August 12, 2010. Filed under: Aged Care / Geriatrics | Tags: , , |

Delirium: diagnosis, prevention and management – NICE – 28 July 2010

Press release:  New NICE guideline set to encourage healthcare professionals to ‘think delirium’ and take steps to prevent it

From the press release:  “Individual care by a trained multidisciplinary team can help prevent delirium for those people identified at risk, according to new guidelines published today (28 July). The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) also recommends health professionals should ‘think delirium’ whenever people are admitted to hospital or long-term care.

This new clinical guideline describes methods of preventing, identifying, diagnosing and managing delirium. In particular, the guideline focuses on preventing delirium in people identified to be at risk, using a targeted, multi-component, drug-free intervention that is tailored for each individual.

Delirium is a recent and usually fluctuating change in a person’s awareness, often shown as disorientation or confusion, or through difficulties with memory. It can often be triggered by an infection, operation or a new drug. It can affect up to 1 in 3 hospital patients in the UK, but is potentially preventable in about a third of these cases. Delirium can lead to longer stays in hospital, bed pressure sores, and may increase the risks of dementia and death. However, the condition is poorly recognised in UK hospitals and long-term care, and preventative methods are generally not in place.

Preventing delirium in people at risk during their admission to hospital is anticipated to bring cost savings and release resources to the NHS. This is through a reduction in bed stay and a reduction in hospital-acquired complications. The NICE guideline is based on the best available evidence and will provide doctors, nurses and care assistants with a gold standard for effective treatment.”

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