Delirium characteristics and outcomes in medical and surgical lnpatients: A subgroup analysis

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Abstract

Purpose:

Persistent delirium can negatively affect patients, increase healthcare costs, and extend the length of hospital stays. This investigation was undertaken to explore associations between patient characteristics and delirium outcomes.

Materials and methods:

Intensive care unit (ICU) and medical and surgical ward inpatients for whom psychiatric consultation was requested for delirium were included in this study. Delirium screening and ongoing assessments were conducted using the Confusion Assessment Method for ICU patients.

Results:

Postoperative delirium developing as a secondary complication following surgery was found to be of significantly longer duration and associated with greater length of hospitalization compared with postoperative delirium attributable to surgery and delirium in medical patients. Medical patients with delirium had lower delirium recovery rates at discharge compared with surgical patients.

Conclusions:

The findings that patient type and timing of postoperative delirium are associated with differential delirium outcomes suggest that targeted screening and intervention approaches may be needed. Medical patients were more likely to be discharged before recovery from delirium compared with surgical patients. Differences in underlying chronic medical conditions may account for the observed differences in discharge condition between medical and surgical patients with delirium.

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