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Are we ready to monitor for delirium in the intensive care unit?

Critical Care Medicine (Impact Factor: 6.15). 02/2004; 32(1):295-6. DOI: 10.1097/01.CCM.0000099342.97517.62
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    • "The professional literature is now focusing on the long-term sequelae of the ICU admission, with delirium sometimes linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (Jones et al., 2001; Rotondi et al., 2002; Rundshagen et al., 2002; Schelling et al., 1998). Through teaching and staff orientation we must change the attitude of ICU health professionals away from a preoccupation with the physical aspects of the ICU patient, however, important these may be (Tanios et al., 2004). We must learn to think of the patient in a holistic manner and to provide dignity during daily care such as bed baths and heed the need for privacy when possible. "
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    ABSTRACT: Delirium is an acute, reversible disorder of attention and cognition and may be viewed as cerebral dysfunction similar to the failure of any other organ. The development of delirium is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, extended length-of-stay in the intensive care unit and longer time spent sedated and ventilated. Nearly every clinical, pharmacological and environmental factor present and necessary in the ICU setting has the potential to cause delirium. Since all of these factors cannot be removed, it is paramount to increase the awareness amongst health care professionals so as to minimise under-recognition and encourage future research into factors that may improve the long-term outcome for ICU patients. There is a need for user-friendly, validated assessment tools for the intubated and ventilated ICU patient, which can be applied at the time of ICU admission without the need for lengthy psychiatric assessment. Nursing professionals are at the forefront of those who are able to provide holistic care through meaningful conversation and empathetic touch. A 6-month Quality Improvement (QI) project screening patients for signs of delirium provided a foundation for discussion. All patients admitted to ICU for more than 72 h, with a hospital length-of-stay less than 96 h prior to ICU admission were screened. Patients admitted following neurological insults or with pre-existing altered mental state were excluded. The QI project showed the incidence of delirium to be 40% of the total sample (n = 73) in a mixed medical/surgical and elective/emergency patient population.
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    ABSTRACT: Traditionally, intensive care unit (ICU) delirium was viewed as benign and was under-diagnosed in the absence of ICU-appropriate screening tools. Research suggests that up to half of all ICU patients experiencing delirium will continue to do so after discharge to the ward, and half of those experiencing delirium in the ward will die within 1 year of delirium diagnosis. ICU-specific screening tools are now available. The purpose of this study was to identify the incidence of delirium in ICU and explore its associations to clinical factors and outcomes. A secondary aim was to evaluate the usefulness of the intensive care delirium screening checklist (ICDSC). A total of 185 patients in six ICUs in Australia and New Zealand were screened for delirium using the ICDSC over two 12-hour periods per day for the duration of their ICU admission. Some 84 patients (45%) developed delirium. Development of delirium was associated with increased severity of illness (acute physiology and chronic health evaluation--APACHE II--and sequential organ failure assessment--SOFA), ICU length of stay (LOS), and use of psycho-active drugs. Delirious patients showed no statistically significant difference in ICU and hospital mortality rates, nor prolonged hospital LOS. The ICDSC was found to be user-friendly. The incidence of delirium, observed characteristics and outcomes for patients admitted to Australian and New Zealand ICUs for > 36 hours without any history of altered mental state fell in the mid-range and were generally consistent with previous literature. An ICU-specific delirium assessment, such as the ICDSC, should be included in routine ICU observations to minimise under-diagnosis of this serious phenomenon.
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    ABSTRACT: To implement sedation and delirium monitoring via a process-improvement project in accordance with Society of Critical Care Medicine guidelines and to evaluate the challenges of modifying intensive care unit (ICU) organizational practice styles. Prospective observational cohort study. The medical ICUs at two institutions: the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and a community Veterans Affairs hospital (York-VA). Seven hundred eleven patients admitted to the medical ICUs for >24 hrs and followed over 4,163 days during a 21-month study period. Unit-wide nursing documentation was changed to accommodate a sedation scale (Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale) and delirium instrument (Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU). A 20-min introductory in-service was performed for all ICU nurses, followed by graded, staged educational interventions at regular intervals. Data were collected daily for compliance, and randomly 40% of nurses each day were chosen for accuracy spot-checks by reference raters. An implementation survey questionnaire was distributed at 6 months. The implementation project involved 64 nurses (40 at VUMC and 24 at York-VA). Sedation and delirium monitoring data were recorded for 711 patients (614 at VUMC and 97 at York-VA). Compliance with the Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale was 94.4% (21,931 of 23,220) at VUMC and 99.7% (5,387 of 5,403) at York-VA. Compliance with the Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU was 90% (7,323 of 8,166) at VUMC and 84% (1,571 of 1,871) at York-VA. The Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU was performed more often than requested on 63% of shifts (5,146 of 8,166) at VUMC and on 8% (151 of 1871) of shifts at York-VA. Overall weighted-kappa between bedside nurses and references raters for the Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale were 0.89 (95% confidence interval, 0.88 to 0.92) at VUMC and 0.77 (95% confidence interval, 0.72 to 0.83) at York-VA. Overall agreement (kappa) between bedside nurses and reference raters using the Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU was 0.92 (95% confidence interval, 0.90-0.94) at VUMC and 0.75 (95% confidence interval, 0.68-0.81) at York-VA. The two most-often-cited barriers to implementation were physician buy-in and time. With minimal training, the compliance of bedside nurses using sedation and delirium instruments was excellent. Agreement of data from bedside nurses and a reference-standard rater was very high for both the sedation scale and the delirium assessment over the duration of this process-improvement project.
    Critical Care Medicine 07/2005; 33(6):1199-205. DOI:10.1097/01.CCM.0000166867.78320.AC · 6.15 Impact Factor