American Nurses Association
American Nurse Today
Consequences of delirium for older adults may include increased mortality, functional decline, nursing home placement, and decreased quality of life. Longer duration of delirium is linked to poorer health outcomes among older adults, underscoring the need for early detection and intervention.
Delirium also exacts a high economic price. Estimated annual U.S. healthcare expenditures range from $143 to $152 billion, with increased hospital stays contributing heavily. Delirium can be frightening for both patients and for family members who observe it in their loved ones. As a nurse, you can play a key role in identifying risk factors, detecting symptoms early, implementing nonpharmacologic interventions promptly, and educating family members about the disorder.