Patient Safety Topics
:
Delirium
Overview

Delirium is a common syndrome in hospitalized adults, particularly those age 65 or older, and has been recognized as a hospital-acquired condition that can result in serious harm to patients. Risk for developing delirium is influenced by predisposing and precipitating factors, many of which are modifiable. Hospitals are encouraged to implement an interdisciplinary, multicomponent delirium prevention plan targeted to these contributing factors to improve clinical outcomes and decrease harm.

Key Data and Statistics

​The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority has seen an increase in the number of delirium-associated patient safety events reported through the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System over the past decade, with 446 events reported from acute care facilities between January 2005 and December 2014. Of these, 14.3% (n = 64) were identified as Serious Events resulting in patient harm. Predisposing factors for delirium identified in the reports included age 65 or older, male gender, preexisting cognitive impairment, depression, and severe illness. Categories of potential precipitating risk factors for delirium identified in the reports were intercurrent illness or other physiologic cause, specific medications, environmental factors, and surgery or procedures requiring sedation.

Figure. Delirium-Associated Events Reported through the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System, by Quarter, 2005 through 2014Figure 1. Delirium-Associated Events Reported through the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System, by Quarter, 2005 through

 

Educational Tools

Delirium: Top Potential Precipitating Risk Factors Identified in Pennsylvania Reports
This educational poster highlights precipitating risk factors associated with patient delirium that facilities can address with staff.

Multimedia
 
 
Advisory Articles

 

Safety Tips for Patients

 

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