Delirium is among the most common of medical emergencies. Prevalence is around 20% in adult acute general medical patients and higher in particular clinical groups, such as patients in intensive care units. It affects up to 50% of those who have hip fracture and up to 75% in intensive care. Preventative measures can reduce the incidence of delirium.
This guideline from Healthcare Improvement Scotland provides recommendations based on current evidence for best practice in the detection, assessment, treatment and follow up of adults with delirium, as well as reducing the risk of delirium.
The guideline applies to all settings: home, long-term care, hospital, and hospice. It is important to note that, to date, much of the existing evidence and the focus of other guidelines is in acute care settings. However, this does not preclude application of the recommendations to other settings, adapted according to clinician judgement. Person-centred care should be the focus of the implementation of this guideline.
The guideline excludes delirium secondary solely to alcohol and illicit substances use. It also excludes delirium in children.