Tackling delirium: a crucial target for improving clinical outcomes

Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2018 Mar 2;79(3):132-135. doi: 10.12968/hmed.2018.79.3.132.


Delirium is a common and debilitating syndrome in hospitalized patients, and its impact on mortality, morbidity and duration of hospital admission is increasingly apparent. Delirium is a complex phenomenon, for which there is no specific treatment, but research over the last decade has revealed contributing factors, many of which are modifiable, and preventative strategies have demonstrated benefit. This review highlights the importance of reducing the impact of delirium on hospitalized patients, and summarizes the current evidence for strategies to achieve this. Current recommendations focus on the pre-emptive implementation of multi-modal non-pharmacological interventions to reduce the occurrence of delirium in the first place, and routine monitoring using validated tools to identify delirious patients early. Potential therapies for established delirium remain controversial.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delirium / diagnosis
  • Delirium / prevention & control*
  • Delirium / therapy
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Treatment Outcome