Synopsis of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guideline for prevention of delirium

Ann Intern Med. 2011 Jun 7;154(11):746-51. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-154-11-201106070-00006.


Description: Delirium is common, is often underrecognized, and is associated with poor outcomes and high costs. In July 2010, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence released a guideline that addressed diagnosis, prevention, and management of delirium. This synopsis focuses on the main recommendations about prevention of delirium.

Methods: The National Clinical Guideline Centre developed these guidelines by using standard methodology of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. A multidisciplinary guideline development group posed review questions, discussed evidence, and formulated the recommendations. To underpin the guideline, a technical team from the National Clinical Guideline Centre systematically reviewed and graded pertinent evidence identified from literature searches of studies published in English to August 2009 and performed health economic modeling. Stakeholder and public comment informed guideline development and modifications.

Recommendations: Considering prevention a feasible and cost-effective health strategy, the guideline development group made 13 specific recommendations that addressed the stability of the care environment (both the care team and location) and the provision of a multicomponent intervention package tailored for persons at risk for delirium. The multicomponent intervention package included assessment and modification of key clinical factors that may precipitate delirium, including cognitive impairment or disorientation, dehydration or constipation, hypoxia, infection, immobility or limited mobility, several medications, pain, poor nutrition, sensory impairment, and sleep disturbance.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Delirium / diagnosis
  • Delirium / economics
  • Delirium / prevention & control*
  • Delirium / therapy
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Models, Economic