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Dealing With Delirium

Treating delirious patients can be costly and difficult, where hospitalization itself may exacerbate the disorder.

Winter 2011
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33
Estimated percentage of hospital patients older than 70 who experience the disorientation, cognitive impairment or irrational behavior (anxiety, fearfulness, sudden mood changes, even hallucinations) associated with delirium

3
Average number of additional days of hospitalization of patients diagnosed with delirium triggered by critical illness, medicinal side effects or neurological disorders exacerbated by surroundings

$16,000–$64,000
Range of hospital costs per patient attributable to delirium, from medicating with antipsychotics to psychiatric rehabilitation

89
Percentage of delirious patients placed in restraints to protect them-selves or others from violent behavior

1
Average duration, in months, it takes for treated delirium to be resolved

35–40
Percentage who die within a year of having hospital delirium

1 in 3
Proportion of cases, according to a recent study, in which no action was taken to provide further testing or treatment when words associated with delirium, such as confusion and disorientation, were recorded in patient charts

7
Number by which a patient is asked to count backward from 100 to test for cognitive impairments such as hospital delirium

50
Percentage by which an elderly patient’s risk of delirium is lowered when light, as opposed to deep, sedation is given during surgery

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