A Lethal Combination of Delirium and Overcrowding in the Emergency Department

Journal of clinical medicine(2023)

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Delirium is a common public health concern that significantly impacts older patients admitted to the Emergency Department (ED). This condition is linked to adverse outcomes such as reduced long-term functionality, higher mortality rates, extended hospital stays, and increased medical costs. The identification of risk factors is crucial for the early recognition and management of delirium in ED patients. Aging, cognitive decline, polypharmacy, and sensory impairment are some of the most common general risk factors described in the literature. Although validated delirium assessment tools already exist, they are not practical for the fast-paced ED environment because of their extended evaluation period or specialized training request. Moreover, clear guidance is needed to select the most suitable tool for detecting delirium, balancing between the accuracy and the swiftness required in an overcrowded, high-stress, and understaffed healthcare setting. This narrative review aims to analyze the updated literature on delirium risk factors in older ED patients and focuses on the methods for better screening, managing, and treating this condition in the ED.
delirium,emergency department,dementia,acute confusion,elder,epidemiology,etiology,assessment,diagnosis,emergency medicine,emergency care,risk factors,overcrowding
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