1. Approximately 15 – 60 % of elderly patients experience a delirium prior to or during a hospitalization but the diagnosis is missed in up to 70% of cases.
2. Delirium is associated with poor outcomes such as prolonged hospitalization, functional decline, and increased use of chemical and physical restraints.
3. Delirium increases the risk of rest home admission.
4. Risk factors for delirium include older age, prior cognitive impairment, presence of infection, severe illness or multiple co-morbidities, dehydration, psychotropic medication use, alcoholism, vision impairment and fractures.
5. Individuals at high risk for delirium should be assessed daily using a standardized tool e.g. CAM to facilitate prompt identification and management.
6. The presence of delirium as indicated by the CAM algorithm, warrants prompt intervention to identify and treat
underlying causes and provide supportive care.