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Nurses should be aware of patients who have one or more risk factors for incident delirium

Delirium study highlights the need for nurses to have an understanding of patient history to identify risk factors associated with the condition.

Delirium is a disturbance of attention and cognition that cannot be explained by a pre-existing neurocognitive disorder.

It can have serious consequences including falls, increased mortality, longer hospital stay and increased risk of long-term cognitive impairment.

Delirium may be present on admission to hospital but, where it is not, nurses need to identify people at risk.


Delirium is a complex syndrome that may be due to the interaction of physiological illness and pre-existing risk factors. Various theories, including reduced blood flow due to ageing, dysfunction of metabolism in the brain, cholinergic deficiency and overreaction of the body’s natural stress response, have attempted to explain the physiological process, but the actual neurological process remains unclear. In older people, the cause is usually multifactorial.

This study looked at the case


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