How is delirium prevented?

Updated: Apr 25, 2019
  • Author: Kannayiram Alagiakrishnan, MD, MBBS, MPH, MHA; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Prevention should be the goal because delirium is associated with adverse outcomes and high health care costs.

A multicomponent intervention study that targeted cognitive impairment, sleep deprivation, immobility, visual impairment, hearing impairment, and dehydration showed significant reduction in the number and duration of episodes of delirium in older patients who were hospitalized.

Patients who are at high risk for delirium should be monitored closely as outpatients, during hospitalization, and throughout surgical procedures.

Physicians should become familiar with prescribing practices for patients who are elderly, keeping dosages low and avoiding medications that cause delirium.

Monitoring the patient's mental status as a vital sign helps to diagnose delirium early.

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