AbstractDelirium is a mental disorder that affects old people but its recognition still remains poor among many health practitioners. Early detection is vital for the prevention and management of the disorder. The purpose of this paper is to review research regarding the use of guidelines in the prevention of delirium. Search into literature regarding delirium guidelines resulted into three articles that were reviewed. While various societies and regions such as Australia have come out with guidelines for dealing with delirium, use of such guidelines in managing and preventing delirium remains poor.
Continuous education about the guidelines need to be conducted on clinical staff in order to put into practice not only the guidelines but also research activities with the aim of preventing delirium. Delirium in the Older Person in the HospitalIntroduction: Harding, Barnes and Muir-Cochrane (2006) describe delirium as a reversible state that has remained under recognised. Even though the disorder is known to affect several old people in hospitals and under home care, diagnosis of the disorder remains difficult mainly due to the lack of single clear symptom that health professionals can use to describe it.
The diagnosis problem is compounded by failure by physicians to establish the core factors resulting to delirium and the risks associated with the disorder. Delirium prevention, according to Nay and Garratt (2009) might be the only best way of dealing with delirium. Prevention involves identifying the disorder before it develops and helps in reducing its chance of occurrence or severity if it occurs. In Australia, according to Caraceni and Grassi (2011), the Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Council (AHMAC) established some guidelines for dealing with delirium with the aim of managing and preventing the disorder.
While guidelines are helpful in managing and preventing delirium, their utilisation in hospitals is very important. Failure by hospitals to utilise the guidelines gives them no meaning and importance in managing and preventing delirium. It is therefore important to establish the factors that prevent hospitals and health practitioners from utilizing the guidelines for managing and preventing delirium. This would help in establishing appropriate measures and models that ensure guidelines are useful. Tropea, Slee and Brand (2008) in their article give a summary of these guidelines that the Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Council (AHMAC) established.
The utilisation of these guidelines is presented by Watson et al. (2009) in their research journal. In their article, they review how Melbourne hospitals use the guidelines dealing with Delirium, acknowledging that such guidelines would help in preventing delirium. Noellene et al (n. d) go ahead and present a research from a qualitative study conducted in two medical wards, dealing with delirium, with the aim of implementing the best approach to assessing, managing and preventing delirium.
The authors also provided a clinical model for improving care given to older people with delirium risks. Review of articles: The first article, by Tropea, Slee and Brand (2008), provides guidelines for managing people with delirium and recommendations on detecting delirium in order to effectively manage and prevent it. The article provides a summary of the guidelines for managing delirium in older people. These guidelines were commissioned in Australia by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC), being the first clinical guidelines in Australia for managing delirium in older people. The authors however indicate that some local health providers had developed guidelines which they were using prior to the establishment of the Clinical Practice Guidelines.