White Paper Lists Strategies to Cut Delirium-Related Rehospitalizations
November 22, 2013 | Aging Services Risk Management
Older adults who develop delirium during a nursing home stay are at significantly higher risk for rehospitalization, states a white paper produced by Relias Learning and available from Long-Term Living. Delirium is a behavioral sign of a physical medical emergency, but it is unrecognized in up to 60% of those who have it. Signs and symptoms of delirium—which may wax and wane—include acute onset, difficulty paying attention, altered perceptions or awareness, disorganized speech, restlessness, lethargy, and fluctuating cognitive function. Common causes include dehydration, malnutrition, hypoxia, sensory problems, lack of sleep, infection, medication reaction, hypo- or hyperglycemia, and heart attack. Strategies for preventing delirium include keeping residents physically and mentally active, ensuring that they wear their glasses and hearing aids, and managing medications; prevention is especially important in postacute patients.