Acute Confusion: Nursing Intervention in Older Patients

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Older patients are at high risk for developing acute confusion while hospitalized with an associated increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Causes for acute confusion include physiologic, psychosocial, and environmental alterations. Often not recognized by nurses, acute confusion needs to be differentiated from depression and dementia. Nursing assessment of acute confusion should include baseline data on cognition, behavior, and functional status. Standard, routine, and systematic assessments of cognition, behavior, and functional status need to be ongoing during hospitalization if nurses are to identify and manage acute confusion in hospitalized older patients.

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