Screening methods for delirium: don't get confused!
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Until a few years ago delirious patients were regarded as an almost “normal” feature of life in the ICU. “ICU psychosis” occurred with such a high frequency that it was considered to be an almost routine consequence of prolonged stay in the ICU, due to the combined effects of the patient's illness and administration of sedatives. Attending physicians tended not to worry about this too much; it was assumed that it was a symptom of the underlying problem which would disappear if and when the patient's somatic condition improved. Delirium was either not treated, or only if the patient became violent or completely unmanageable due to his restlessness.
This viewpoint has changed dramatically in the course of the past decade, since various research groups began reporting that delirium may not be such a “harmless” phenomenon after all. In recent years the presence of delirium has been linked to increased morbidity and length of stay (LOS) in the ICU and hospital [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]; the...
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