ICU Delirium (week 4)

I found the video by the ICU delirium and cognitive impairment study group to be very touching. Dr. Wes Ely talks about how geriatrics need advocates in the critical care unit (CCU) and intensive care units (ICU). This topic is very interesting for me because I work in an ICU step-down unit with patients on ventilators .He noted that the patients were leaving these units with worsening cognitive effects that he called an “acquired dementia” from the sedatives they were receiving in the CCU or ICU. This is the first time that I had ever heard about oversedating patients into a delirium to the point where they were having residual cognitive defects after discharge. This prompted me to do some research of my own on ICU delirium. I really loved that he said that he was trying to improve the lives of people he will never meet.  I guess that is what medical research is all about .

I was able to find an article written by a nurse in a Health Science article. In the article named, Delirium: a distressing and disturbing clinical event in a Intensive Care Unit, they talk about tools nurses can use to control the levels of severity of delirium encountered in critical care units. The article found that if tools to classify the severity of delirium were more readily available to nurses, we would be able to identify patients who are at the highest risk for adverse outcomes from sedation medications. I think this a perfect step towards reducing this problem found in the critical care units.

“Several studies have now confirmed that delirium occurs in 60% to 80% of mechanically ventilated patients.” (Maniou , 2012) This number is astonishingly large and something must be done to help these patients. I strongly agree with this article because I think that nurses, as patient advocates, must do something to help stop this. This article offers many screening tools and interventions a nurse can use to help prevent ICU delirium. This includes things such as the Confusion Assessment Method – Intensive Care Unit (CAM-ICU) and using the patient’s glasses and/or hearing aids to help prevent sensory deprivation. Overall, I learned a lot about this topic that I knew little about and I hope that I can bring something back to help care for my patients at work.

Maniou, M. (2012). Delirium: a distressing and disturbing clinical event in a Intensive Care Unit. Health Science Journal, 6(4), 587-597.


One thought on “ICU Delirium (week 4)”

  1. I enjoyed your post because you’re in the trenches of this issue. Because you’re in a DOU unit I’m curios to know if the hospital you work for has any protocols that help identify delirium, titrate sedation drugs, and treat delirium if it is occurring.

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