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Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Delirium in nursing homes needs to be taken more seriously, study claims

Delirium among nursing home residents often goes undiagnosed and needs to be treated more seriously than it currently is by long-term care professionals, a new research review has found.

The review showed that delirium affects nearly 1 in 5 (18%) long-term care residents, and carries a 40% one-year mortality rate. Due to the similarities between delirium symptoms and dementia, the former often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed in older patients, the review's authors said in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Some of the studies included in the review showed links between delirium and a long-term care facility's environment. Restraints also upped the risk for delirium. 

Lead author Martin Forsberg, M.D., with the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, advised providers to reduce residents' non-essential surgeries, hospitalizations and medications in order to help prevent delirium.“I think, historically, we have thought of delirium as a relatively benign condition,” Forsberg said. “The data tells us we need to treat it more scientifically and more seriously than we do.”

The review also found antipsychotic medications to be a successful treatment for delirium, a finding that came with the caveat that such medications also have been linked to increased risk of death for patients with dementia.

To read he full study, click on the following link: 


Delirium in nursing homes not taken seriously enough, study asserts. (2017, January 09). Retrieved March 7, 2017, from 

Forsberg, M.M. (2017) Delirium Update for Postacute Care and Long-Term Care Settings: A Narrative Review. The Journal of the American osteopathic Association, 117 (1), 32. Retrieved March 7, 2017, from

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