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Delirium: A Disturbance of Consciousness By Amy Wisniewski, RN, CCM, BSN Nursing made Incredibly Easy! January/February 2009 2.3 ANCC/AACN contact hours.

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Presentation on theme: "Delirium: A Disturbance of Consciousness By Amy Wisniewski, RN, CCM, BSN Nursing made Incredibly Easy! January/February 2009 2.3 ANCC/AACN contact hours."— Presentation transcript:

1 Delirium: A Disturbance of Consciousness By Amy Wisniewski, RN, CCM, BSN Nursing made Incredibly Easy! January/February 2009 2.3 ANCC/AACN contact hours Online: © 2009 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All world rights reserved.

2 What’s Delirium?  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4 th edition, Text Revision defines delirium as: A disturbance of consciousness with a reduced ability to focus or sustain attention A change in cognition (memory deficit or disorientation) The disturbance develops over a short period of time and tends to fluctuate during the course of a day Evidence shows that the disturbance is caused by a direct physiologic reason or medical condition

3 Classifying Delirium  Hyperactive Agitated, disoriented, or delusional May experience hallucinations Often seen in alcohol intoxication or withdrawal  Hypoactive Quiet, apathetic, disoriented, or confused May go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as depression often seen with encephalopathy or hypercapnia  Mixed delirium Combination of hyper- and hypoactive types Commonly associated with daytime sedation and nighttime agitation

4 Pathophysiology  Not fully understood  Theories Lack of oxygen in the brain Inflammatory cytokines Stress and sleep deprivation

5 Role of Neurotransmitters  Acetylcholine—decreased in delirium; may be responsible for confusion  Dopamine—increased in delirium; has a reciprocal relationship with acetylcholine  Serotonin —increased in delirium  Gamma-aminobutyric acid—increased in delirium

6 Risk Factors  History of dementia  Older hospitalized patients  Patient with HIV or cancer  More comorbidities = increased risk delirium  Mechanically ventilated patients, especially in the ICU

7 Causes of Post-op Delirium  Acid-base disturbances  Age older than 80  Fluid and electrolyte imbalance  Dehydration  History of dementia-like symptoms  Hypoxia  Hypercapnia  Infection (urinary tract, wound, respiratory)  Medications (anticholinergics, benzodiazepines, CNS depressants)  Unrelieved pain  Blood loss  Decreased cardiac output  Cerebral hypoxia  Heart failure  Acute MI  Hypothermia or hyperthermia  Unfamiliar surroundings and sensory deprivation  Emergent surgery  Alcohol withdrawal  Urinary retention  Fecal impaction  Polypharmacy  Multiple comorbidities  Sensory impairments  High stress or anxiety levels

8 Signs & Symptoms  Agitation  Somnolence  Withdrawal  Visual hallucinations  Auditory hallucinations  Delusions  Neurologic symptoms, such as unsteady gait and tremors  Fluctuating consciousness  Attention difficulties  Memory deficit  Disorientation  Affective changes  Decreased appetite  Poor sleep  Emotional lability

9 Diagnosing Delirium  Delirium is often confused with other diagnoses, such as dementia or depression  Bedside nurses are usually the first to see signs of delirium in patients  Assess the patient’s current medication list and predisposing risk factors for delirium  Most frequently used test to screen for cognitive impairment is the Mini Mental State Exam; also the Intensive Care Delirium Screening Checklist or the Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU

10 The Mini Mental State Exam  Orientation 5 What is the (year) (season) (date) (day) (month)? 5 Where are we (state) (county) (city) (hospital) (floor)?  Registration 3 Name three objects: 1 second to say each. Then ask the patient all three after you’ve said them. Give 1 point for each correct answer. Repeat them until he learns all three. Count the trials and record the number. Number of trials: ____.  Attention and calculation 5 Begin with 100 and count backwards by 7 (stop after five answers). Alternatively, spell “world” backwards.

11 The Mini Mental State Exam  Recall 3 Ask for the three objects repeated above. Give 1 point for each correct answer.  Language 2 Show a pencil and a watch, and ask the patient to name them. 1 Repeat the following: “No ifs, ands, or buts.” 3 A three-stage command: “Take a paper in your right hand, fold it in half, and put it on the floor.” 1 Read and obey the following: (Show the patient the written item.) CLOSE YOUR EYES. 1 Write a sentence. 1 Copy a design (complex polygon as in Bender- Gestalt).  Total score possible: 30

12 The Intensive Care Delirium Screening Checklist  For each item the patient exhibits, he receives a score of 1; if he doesn’t exhibit the symptom, the score is 0: Altered level of consciousness Inattention Disorientation Hallucinations Psychomotor agitation/retardation Inappropriate mood/speech Sleep/wake cycle disturbance Symptom fluctuation  Assess the patient every 8 hours and compare the score to the previous shift. A score of 4 or higher is positive for delirium and should be reported to the healthcare provider for further evaluation and treatment of the cause.

13 Other Diagnostic Tests  History and physical exam  Neurologic studies, such as CT scan, MRI, and ECG  Electrolyte levels, including blood glucose level  Renal and liver function studies  Thyroid studies  Urine analysis  Thiamine levels  Drug screens  Screenings for infectious diseases and HIV

14 Treatment  Practice guidelines recommend the use of the dopamine receptor antagonist haloperidol for the treatment of delirium  Low-dose antipsychotics may also be used  Benzodiazepine isn’t recommended except in alcohol withdrawal  Adequate hydration and nutrition  Multivitamin and mineral supplementation

15 Haloperidol  Can be given orally, intravenously, intramuscularly  Causes a sedative effect, improving hallucinations, agitation, and combative behavior  Administered I.V. causes fewer extrapyramidal symptoms, monitor QT interval in these patients

16 Nursing Care  Frequent assessment  Possible one-on-one observation  Use of least restrictive form of restraint, if necessary  Maintain as normal an environment as possible  Frequent reorientation  Distractions may help, such as conversation or music  Maintain a calm, quiet environment

17 Nursing Care Specific to the ICU  Frequent orientation  Allowing for sleep  Early extubation  Early and frequent mobilization  Early removal of invasive devices

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