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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Warning: Hospitalized Seniors Become Delirious

Here's a must read article from today's Boston Globe: Breaking through delirium.

Here's an excerpt:
Millions of hospitalized seniors each year develop the sudden, serious mental confusion that typically lengthens their hospital stay, slows their recovery, and can hasten their death.
I've seen this. It's scary. They never warn you about it and should. They have a hard time diagnosing it and should do better.
Delirium is often brought on in the hospital by a combination of factors that disrupt the patient's routines and health. Common causes include infections, medications, malnutrition or dehydration, immobility, noise, sleep disruption, and not being able to use eyeglasses and hearing aids.
There is hope:
Massachusetts General Hospital is considering an initiative that would flag older patients who show signs of delirium in the emergency room for special care throughout their hospital stay. The initiative would take simple steps, such as reducing the number of medications prescribed and medical tests performed, removing catheters and IV-lines as quickly as possible to allow patients to move freely, and providing darkness and quiet at night to allow normal sleep.
This is just common sense.

Why they keep all the lights on at night, have nurse parties in the hallways, and allows bells and buzzers to ring, is beyond me.

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