By Kara Stahl, Nursing; Cara Discepoli, Nursing; Alyssa Brinkman, Nursing
Advisor: Carolyn Smith
Abstract: Patients over 65 years of age commonly experience delirium during extended hospitalizations. Early prevention strategies help to reduce these complications in the acute care setting. The purpose of this project is to provide information on preventing delirium in the elderly in the acute care setting, with the focus of implementing early prevention strategies during their hospital stay. We created an education session on an acute care neurological unit at University Hospital for nurses to inform them on the importance of recognizing early signs and symptoms of delirium in their patients. Delirium continues to be a high risk factor of hospitalization and should be acknowledged as a medical emergency unless proven otherwise. Nonetheless the origin of the patient's disease process, delirium has the potential to affect the entire body system while also lengthening hospital stay and increasing healthcare cost for the patient. For these reasons, prevention, early recognition and effective treatment of delirium are essential.