Intensive care delirium monitoring and standardised treatment: a complete survey of Dutch Intensive Care Units

Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2008 Aug;24(4):218-21. doi: 10.1016/j.iccn.2008.04.005. Epub 2008 Jun 3.


Objective: Delirium is a frequent and serious problem in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Several international guidelines recommend daily monitoring for ICU-delirium. The purpose of this article is to give an up-to-date overview of the current status of monitoring and treatment of ICU-delirium in the Netherlands.

Design: Nation-wide, telephone-based questionnaire survey.

Participants: Head nurse of all ICUs and a random sample of intensivists.

Results: Only 14% (n=14) of all Dutch ICUs (n=103) monitored for ICU-delirium. Of these, only half (7%) used a tool that is validated in ICU patients. In 31% of Dutch ICUs, a protocol was used to treat ICU-delirium. Responses were obtained from 100% of ICUs.

Conclusion: Despite an international guideline, not more than 7% of ICUs in our study routinely evaluated the presence of delirium with a validated instrument. Fewer than one-third of Dutch ICUs use a protocol to treat ICU-delirium.

MeSH terms

  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Critical Care / organization & administration*
  • Delirium* / diagnosis
  • Delirium* / therapy
  • Guideline Adherence / organization & administration*
  • Hospitals, Public
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Mass Screening / organization & administration
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / nursing
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / statistics & numerical data
  • Netherlands
  • Nurse Administrators / organization & administration
  • Nursing Assessment / organization & administration
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / organization & administration
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires