A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that patients who suffer from delirium while they are in intensive care units (ICU) have a higher risk of delirium when they are discharged. The study also found that putting patients in drug-induced comas can lengthen the duration of delirium.
According to the study's authors, researchers at Vanderbilt University, hospitals need to do more to keep ICU patients alert, including getting them up out of bed, even if they are on ventilators.
An INQRI-funded study conducted by Michele Balas and William Burke revealed that using a bundle of evidence-based practices helped ICU patients avoid delirium. The ABCDE bundle (Awakening, and Breathing Coordination, Delirium Monitoring and Management, and Early Mobility bundle) was developed by a research team at Vanderbilt University and includes nurse-implemented, protocol-directed sedation; daily interruption of a
patient’s infusion of sedatives until the patient can follow simple commands or
becomes agitated (spontaneous awakening trials); periodically taking a patient
off a ventilator to breathe on his or her own (spontaneous breathing trials);
screening patients for delirium using either the Confusion Assessment Method-ICU
or the Care Delirium Screening Checklist; and introducing physical and
occupational therapy as soon as possible.
Wes Ely, who was a leader of that research team,also was the senior author of the new study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study was reported in several media outlets, including CBS News and in USA Today.
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