What are the Causes of Delirium? Essay

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Delirium is a sudden, fluctuating, and usually reversible disturbance of mental function (Yuying Fan, 2012). Delirium has been identified in several hospital settings; however, occurs more frequently in an Intensive Care setting. Risk factors are not limited to a certain age, race, or gender. There are several long and short term adverse effects associated with Delirium, and may even leave the patient in a decreased mental state after discharge. It is important to use the proper assessment tools to identify delirium in patients. More so, it is imperative that the medical and nursing staff be aware of all risk factors, signs and symptoms, and interventions to minimize and properly treat delirium in the ICU setting. Patients in the …show more content…
There is research that suggest that acute and chronic pain could be contributing factors to the development of delirium. According to Robinson and Vollmer (2010), a study of 12 young adults, researchers delivered a painful stimulus and asked the subjects to perform cognitive tasks of word repetition and word generation. Results showed that the subjects had difficulty disengaging from pain to complete tasks. According to Vollmer (2010), a study was performed which examined the ability of 12 patients with severe pain to perform cognitive tests before and after pain treatment. The results showed that prior to pain treatment, they had a hard time keeping their attention on a certain task to be able to perform them. According to Vollmer (2010), a study was done with patients who experienced chronic pain which tested mental flexibility and found pain severity was associated with increased impairment. It is often immediately assumed that the medications such as fentanyl, morphine, and demerol may be the cause of delirium, and the first response is often to discontinue the medications. However, in some cases the delirium may be associated with inadequate pain management. In fact, only 27.67% of patients, with a diagnosis of a condition associated with pain, received the amount of analgesic that they could have

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