To improve the prevention of delirium in patients at risk and the early diagnosis and treatment of patients with delirium, so that the incidence, severity and duration of delirium are reduced.
The Delirium Clinical Care Standard relates to the care that adult patients (18 years and older) with suspected delirium – or are at risk of developing delirium – should receive, from presentation to hospital through to their transition to primary care.
Many quality statements in the Delirium Clinical Care Standard also apply to patients with delirium receiving palliative or end-of-life care. Specific guidance on the management of delirium in patients receiving palliative care should also be consulted if appropriate.
What is not covered
The care of patients with delirium tremens (alcohol or substance withdrawal delirium) is outside the scope of this clinical care standard. Specific guidance on the management of delirium tremens exists and should be consulted if appropriate.
This clinical care standard does not cover the care of children and young people (under the age of 18 years) with suspected delirium; however, several of the prevention and management strategies used for the adult population are relevant to children, such as providing a supportive environment and actively involving families.
Pathway of care
Although this clinical care standard applies primarily to the care received by patients in hospitals, it can also be adapted for use in residential aged care services. For example, a change in location or in the clinical condition of a patient may increase the risk of delirium and prompt the need for the interventions described in the standard.
In this document, the term ‘clinician’ refers to all types of healthcare providers who deliver direct clinical care to patients, including:
- Allied health professionals
- Nurse practitioners
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers or practitioners