Delirium among hospital patients complicates recovery

Public health authorities are weighing potential strategies to reduce delirium among hospital patients, according to Kaiser Health News. Delirium affects as many as 85 percent of intensive care unit patients, as well as many recovering from relatively simple procedures, and the condition costs hospitals $143 billion a year. These extra costs usually come in the form of extended lengths of stay or necessary follow-up care in nursing homes. The condition is severely underdiagnosed, Sharon Inouye, a geriatrician and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, told KHN. About 40 percent of cases are preventable--and many of them result directly from treatments such as large dosages of narcotics or noisy, brightly lit environments that make sleep difficult. Article