Preventing complications of care

Quality statement 6

A patient with delirium receives care to prevent functional decline, dehydration, malnutrition, falls and pressure injuries, based on their risk.

Purpose

To minimise the risk of complications of care for patients with delirium.

What the quality statement means

For patients

If you have delirium, your care will include a plan to keep your physical health from getting worse while you are in hospital or another health service organisation. The plan includes ways to prevent falls and having an injury from a fall, such as wearing safe footwear or hip protectors, and care to prevent pressure injuries. You will be offered a nutritious diet to prevent malnutrition and dehydration. You will be encouraged to keep mobile. Your family or carers are encouraged to be involved in your care.

For clinicians

If a patient has delirium, assess, monitor and document their risks of:

  • Functional decline
  • Falling and being harmed from a fall
  • Developing a pressure injury, dehydration or malnutrition.

Put in place interventions tailored to their risk, in consultation with other clinicians, the patient and their family or carer. Examples of interventions for falls prevention can include reorientation, appropriate lighting and ensuring that patients are using their eyeglasses or hearing aids. To lessen the risk of functional decline, encourage mobility and self-care with assistance as necessary.

Assist patients as required throughout the day to ensure that they maintain optimal nutrition and hydration. Ensure dentures are fitted correctly, particularly at mealtimes. For patients at risk of malnutrition, arrange for a dietitian to assess and manage them.

For health service organisations

Ensure that systems and policies are in place to support clinicians to identify and manage the risk of functional decline, falls, pressure injuries, malnutrition, dehydration and other complications for patients with delirium. This includes implementation of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (second edition).

Ensure that appropriate resources and equipment are available to decrease the risk of complications (such as low-rise beds for falls prevention).

For patients

If you have delirium, your care will include a plan to keep your physical health from getting worse while you are in hospital or another health service organisation. The plan includes ways to prevent falls and having an injury from a fall, such as wearing safe footwear or hip protectors, and care to prevent pressure injuries. You will be offered a nutritious diet to prevent malnutrition and dehydration. You will be encouraged to keep mobile. Your family or carers are encouraged to be involved in your care.

For clinicians

If a patient has delirium, assess, monitor and document their risks of:

  • Functional decline
  • Falling and being harmed from a fall
  • Developing a pressure injury, dehydration or malnutrition.

Put in place interventions tailored to their risk, in consultation with other clinicians, the patient and their family or carer. Examples of interventions for falls prevention can include reorientation, appropriate lighting and ensuring that patients are using their eyeglasses or hearing aids. To lessen the risk of functional decline, encourage mobility and self-care with assistance as necessary.

Assist patients as required throughout the day to ensure that they maintain optimal nutrition and hydration. Ensure dentures are fitted correctly, particularly at mealtimes. For patients at risk of malnutrition, arrange for a dietitian to assess and manage them.

For health service organisations

Ensure that systems and policies are in place to support clinicians to identify and manage the risk of functional decline, falls, pressure injuries, malnutrition, dehydration and other complications for patients with delirium. This includes implementation of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (second edition).

Ensure that appropriate resources and equipment are available to decrease the risk of complications (such as low-rise beds for falls prevention).

Read Quality statement 7 - Avoiding use of antipsychotic medicines