Evaluating Delirium Outcomes Among Older Adults In The Surgical Intensive Care Unit

Abstract [from journal]

Background: Delirium is prevalent in hospitalized older adults. Little is known about delirium among older adults admitted to the surgical intensive care unit (SICU).

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to describe the incidence of delirium, length of stay, 30-day readmission and mortality rates experienced by older adults in the SICU before and after a nurse-driven protocol for delirium-informed care.

Methods: This study employed a retrospective observational cohort design. Consecutive patients 65 years or older admitted to the SICU over six-month periods were compared before (n = 101) and following (n = 172) a nurse-driven protocol for delirium-informed care. Patient-level outcomes included incidence delirium, SICU and hospital length of stay, 30-day readmission and mortality rates. All measures were collected using medical record review.

Results: In the pre- and post-intervention cohorts, 37% (37/101) and 33% (56/172) of patients screened positive for delirium, respectively. Following implementation of the delirium-informed care intervention, the number of days where no CAM-ICU assessment was performed significantly decreased (Pre 1.1 ± 1.4; Post 0.45 ± 0.65; p <0.001) and the number of negative assessments significantly increased (Pre 2.45 ± 1.66; Post 2.94 ± 1.69; p < 0.0178), indicating that nurses post-intervention were more consistently assessing for delirium.

Conclusions: This study failed to show improvements in patient outcomes (SICU and hospital length of stay, 30-day readmission and mortality rates), before and following a delirium-informed care intervention. However, positive trends in the data suggest that delirium-informed care has the potential to increase rates of assessment and delirium identification, thereby providing the foundation for reducing the consequences of delirium and improve patient-level outcomes. Further better controlled prospective work is needed to validate this intervention.