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How many older people get hospital-acquired delirium?

Of patients aged 70 or older, about 25 percent will come into the typical hospital already having some symptoms of delirium – but an additional 25 percent will develop hospital-acquired delirium during their hospital stay.  Patients with delirium are likely to stay in the hospital longer, fall more, be readmitted sooner.  Hospital-acquired delirium comes from medication interactions, infections, recovery from surgery, and other not fully understood causes.  There are 200 hospitals that have adopted the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) http://www.hospitalelderlifeprogram.org/ which makes use of trained volunteers, primarily, to help older patients avoid hospital-acquired delirium.

Source: Clark, C. (2015, Apr.). Preventing hospital-acquired delirium. HealthLeaders, 18(3), 60-63. Retrieved from http://www.healthleadersmagazine-digital.com/healthleadersmagazine/april_2015#pg64

Link to a literature search about the HELP program:  http://www.hospitalelderlifeprogram.org/about/help-references/

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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