Delirium: prevention, clinical features and management
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Delirium: prevention, clinical features and management

Emma Ouldred Dementia nurse specialist, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London
Catherine Bryant Consultant physician, Department of Clinical Gerontology, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London

Delirium is a common condition among hospital inpatients and people in long-term care settings. It is an acute confusional state associated with poor outcomes. Delirium is poorly recognised and managed despite evidence to suggest it is preventable in up to one third of cases. In July 2010, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence published a comprehensive clinical practice guideline on the diagnosis, prevention and management of delirium. This article discusses the clinical features of delirium in relation to the guideline. It recommends that all clinical staff caring for older people should take on the responsibility to ‘think delirium’ and improve the quality of care for these patients.

Correspondence emmaouldred@nhs.net

Nursing Standard. 25, 28,47-56. doi: 10.7748/ns2011.03.25.28.47.c8398

Published in print: 16 March 2011

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review