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Delirium Superimposed on Dementia

Fick, Donna Marie PhD, APRN, BC; Mion, Lorraine C. PhD, RN, FAAN

AJN, American Journal of Nursing: January 2008 - Volume 108 - Issue 1 - p 52–60
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000304476.80530.7d
FEATURE: How To try this
Videos

Delirium is common in older adults who have dementia, but too often nurses confuse the symptoms of delirium with those of dementia and it goes unrecognized and untreated. Delirium can signal a serious underlying condition such as infection or dehydration and can increase the risk of falling and the length of hospitalization. This article presents an algorithm meant to guide nurses in the assessment and treatment of delirium superimposed on dementia. For a free online video demonstrating the use of this algorithm, go to http://links.lww.com/A209.

Too often nurses confuse the symptoms of delirium with those of dementia and it goes unrecognized and untreated. This article presents an algorithm to guide nurses in the assessment and treatment of delirium superimposed on dementia.

Donna Marie Fick is an associate professor in the School of Nursing and in the psychiatry department of the School of Medicine at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. Lorraine C. Mion is director of nursing research and geriatric nursing at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, OH.

Contact author: Donna Fick, dmf21@psu.edu.

The authors have no significant ties, financial or otherwise, to any company that might have an interest in the publication of this educational activity.

How to Try This is a three-year project funded by a grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation to the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University's College of Nursing in collaboration with AJN. This initiative promotes the Hartford Institute's geriatric assessment tools, Try This: Best Practices in Nursing Care to Older Adults: www.hartfordign.org/trythis. The series will include articles and corresponding videos, all of which will be available for free online at www.nursingcenter.com/AJNolderadults. Nancy A. Stotts, EdD, RN, FAAN (nancy.stotts@nursing.ucsf.edu) and Sherry A. Greenberg, MSN, APRN, BC, GNP (sherry@familygreenberg.com) are coeditors of the print series. The articles and videos are to be used for educational purposes only.

Routine use of a Try This tool may require formal review and approval by your employer.

An algorithm for detecting and managing this underrecognized confluence of conditions.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.