Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Services Research & Development

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
Go to the ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Lee S, Gottlieb M, Mulhausen P, Wilbur J, Reisinger HS, Han JH, Carnahan R. Recognition, prevention, and treatment of delirium in emergency department: An evidence-based narrative review. The American journal of emergency medicine. 2019 Oct 8.
PubMed logo Search for Abstract from PubMed
(This link leaves the website of VA HSR&D.)

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Delirium is an acute disorder of attention and cognition that is common, serious, costly, under-recognized, and potentially fatal. Delirium is particularly problematic in the emergency department (ED) care of medically complex older adults, who are being seen in greater numbers. OBJECTIVE: This evidence-based narrative review focuses on the key components of delirium screening, prevention, and treatment. DISCUSSION: The recognition of delirium requires a systematic approach rather than a clinical gestalt alone. Several delirium assessment tools with high sensitivity and specificity, such as delirium triage screen and brief Confusion Assessment Method, can be used in the ED. The prevention of delirium requires environmental modification and unique geriatric care strategies tailored to the ED. The key approaches to treatment include the removal of the precipitating etiology, re-orientation, hydration, and early mobilization. Treatment of delirium requires a multifaceted and comprehensive care plan, as there is limited evidence for significant benefit with pharmacological agents. CONCLUSION: Older ED patients are at high risk for current or subsequent development of delirium, and a focused screening, prevention, and intervention for those who are at risk for delirium and its associated complications are the important next steps.

Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team.

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.