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      Delirium Assessment in Older People in Emergency Departments. A Literature Review

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          Abstract

          Delirium is a neuropsychiatric syndrome often manifesting in acute disease conditions, and with a greater prevalence in the older generation. Delirium in the Emergency Department (ED) is a highly prevalent problem that typically goes unnoticed by healthcare providers. The onset of a delirium episode in the ED is associated with an increase in morbidity and mortality. Because delirium is a preventable syndrome, these statistics are unacceptable. Emergency Department staff therefore should strive to perform systematic screening in order to detect delirium. Different tools have been developed for the assessment of delirium by healthcare professionals other than psychiatrists or geriatricians. Emergency Departments require delirium assessment scales of high sensitivity and specificity, suited to the characteristics of the Department, since the time available is scarce. In addition, the presence of dementia in the assessment of delirium may induce sensitivity bias. Despite the existence of numerous delirium rating scales, scales taking less than three minutes to complete are recommended. The choice of the tool depends on the characteristics of the ED. The only scale affording high sensitivity and specificity in older people with and without dementia is the Four “A”s Test (4AT); it requires no training on the part of the rater, and can be performed in under two minutes.

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          Most cited references 65

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          Delirium in elderly adults: diagnosis, prevention and treatment.

          Delirium is a common and serious acute neuropsychiatric syndrome with core features of inattention and global cognitive dysfunction. The etiologies of delirium are diverse and multifactorial and often reflect the pathophysiological consequences of an acute medical illness, medical complication or drug intoxication. Delirium can have a widely variable presentation, and is often missed and underdiagnosed as a result. At present, the diagnosis of delirium is clinically based and depends on the presence or absence of certain features. Management strategies for delirium are focused on prevention and symptom management. This article reviews current clinical practice in delirium in elderly individuals, including the diagnosis, treatment, outcomes and economic impact of this syndrome. Areas of future research are also discussed.
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            Delirium in Hospitalized Older Adults

            A 75-year-old man is admitted for scheduled major abdominal surgery. He is functionally independent, with mild forgetfulness. His intraoperative course is uneventful, but on postoperative day 2, severe confusion and agitation develop. What is going on? How would you manage this patient’s care? Could his condition have been prevented?
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              A predictive model for delirium in hospitalized elderly medical patients based on admission characteristics.

              To prospectively develop and validate a predictive model for the occurrence of new delirium in hospitalized elderly medical patients based on characteristics present at admission. Two prospective cohort studies done in tandem. University teaching hospital. The development cohort included 107 hospitalized general medical patients 70 years or older who did not have dementia or delirium at admission. The validation cohort included 174 comparable patients. Patients were assessed daily for delirium using a standardized, validated instrument. The predictive model developed in the initial cohort was then validated in a separate cohort of patients. Delirium developed in 27 of 107 patients (25%) in the development cohort. Four independent baseline risk factors for delirium were identified using proportional hazards analysis: These included vision impairment (adjusted relative risk, 3.5; 95% Cl, 1.2 to 10.7); severe illness (relative risk, 3.5; Cl, 1.5 to 8.2); cognitive impairment (relative risk, 2.8; Cl, 1.2 to 6.7); and a high blood urea nitrogen/creatinine ratio (relative risk, 2.0; Cl, 0.9 to 4.6). A risk stratification system was developed by assigning 1 point for each risk factor present. Rates of delirium for low- (0 points), intermediate- (1 to 2 points), and high-risk (3 to 4 points) groups were 9%, 23%, and 83% (P < 0.0001), respectively. The corresponding rates in the validation cohort, in which 29 of 174 patients (17%) developed delirium, were 3%, 16%, and 32% (P < 0.002). The rates of death or nursing home placement, outcomes potentially related to delirium, were 9%, 16%, and 42% (P = 0.02) in the development cohort and 3%, 14%, and 26% (P = 0.007) in the validation cohort. Delirium among elderly hospitalized patients is common, and a simple predictive model based on four risk factors can be used at admission to identify elderly persons at the greatest risk.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Diseases
                Diseases
                diseases
                Diseases
                MDPI
                2079-9721
                30 January 2019
                March 2019
                : 7
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Nursing, Universidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente Mártir, Calle Espartero, 7, 46007 València, Spain; pilar.perez@ 123456ucv.es
                [2 ]Department of Physiotheray, Universitat de València, C/Gascó Oliag 5, 46010 València, Spain
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: francisco.m.martinez@ 123456uv.es ; Tel.: +34-963-983-853 (ext. 51227)
                Article
                diseases-07-00014
                10.3390/diseases7010014
                6473718
                30704024
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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