- Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services
- July 2012 - Volume 50 · Issue 7: 17-20
Older adults with multiple pre-existing conditions are admitted to hospitals with acute illnesses and injuries every day. Delirium is not recognized by clinicians across health care settings. With awareness of risk factors and knowledge of delirium, nurses can play a pivotal role in the early identification, treatment, and, most important, prevention of delirium in older adults. Nurses often display a lack of knowledge related to delirium and the complex symptoms that appear differently in the presence of other complicating co-morbid conditions in aging adults. Nurses play a crucial role in keeping patients safe and ensuring optimal outcomes, regardless of the setting. With the growing population of older adults and the expected increases in chronic illness and dementia, delirium is a problem nurses are likely to experience in all practice settings. Knowing what to look for facilitates recognizing the risk and acting early to minimize (or even prevent) delirium.
Dr. Steis is Community Health Nurse, Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Viera, Florida; Dr. Shaughnessy is Associate Director for Education/Evaluation, Baltimore Veterans Affairs Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Centers, and Associate Professor, University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland; and Dr. Gordon is Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and Chief of Psychology, Mental Health Care Line, Veterans Affairs Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, Tennessee.
The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.
Address correspondence to Melinda R. Steis, PhD, RN, Community Health Nurse, Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 2900 Veterans Way, Viera, FL 32940; e-mail: email@example.com.
Posted: June 15, 2012