Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hospital study finds connection between dementia, delirium and declining health

Date:
September 16, 2013
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
More than half of all patients with pre-existing dementia will experience delirium while hospitalized. Failing to detect and treat their delirium early leads to a faster decline of both their physical and mental health, according to health researchers.

Delirium is a reversible cognitive condition that comes on quickly and if caught and treated early can be resolved.
Credit: Gene Maylock

More than half of all patients with pre-existing dementia will experience delirium while hospitalized. Failing to detect and treat their delirium early leads to a faster decline of both their physical and mental health, according to health researchers.

"This study is important, as delirium is often overlooked and minimized in the hospital setting, especially in persons with dementia," said Donna M. Fick, Distinguished Professor of Nursing at Penn State and principal investigator for this study. "And it illustrates that delirium is deadly, costly and impacts patient functioning."

The researchers followed 139 hospitalized adults, ages 65 and older, with dementia and found that the patients who developed delirium had a 25 percent chance of dying within 30 days, as reported in the current issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Dementia is an irreversible, progressive condition that affects cognitive and physical function. Symptoms usually occur over months to years and can include memory loss, inability to solve simple problems, difficulties with language and thinking, personality and behavior changes and other mental problems.

Delirium, on the other hand, is a reversible cognitive condition that comes on quickly and if caught and treated early can be resolved. Many of the symptoms of delirium may appear similar to dementia, but signs such as marked inattention and sleepiness or hyperactivity can help differentiate delirium from dementia.

Fick and colleagues focused on this combination of disorders, known as delirium superimposed on dementia (DSD), in this study. The researchers found a 32 percent incidence of new delirium in the hospitalized patients with dementia. These patients stayed in the hospital about four days longer than patients without delirium, and also had a reduced level of physical and mental ability when they left the hospital and at follow-up visits one month later. Additionally, patients with DSD were more likely to have died a month after their hospital stay.

Previous studies have found the cost of delirious episodes rivals those for diabetes and heart disease. Decreasing the length of stay by just one day would save more than $20 million in health care costs per year.

Common causes of delirium are infections, dehydration and medication changes. A third of the patients in this study arrived at the hospital dehydrated.

"Preventing delirium is important because we want to discharge patients at their baseline or improved functioning," said Fick. "We do not want them to go home with worse functioning than when they came into the hospital."

The goal of the researchers is to help practitioners recognize and treat delirium in patients with DSD as early as possible, helping to improve quality of life for the patient.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Donna M. Fick, Melinda R. Steis, Jennifer L. Waller, Sharon K. Inouye. Delirium superimposed on dementia is associated with prolonged length of stay and poor outcomes in hospitalized older adults. Journal of Hospital Medicine, 2013; 8 (9): 500 DOI: 10.1002/jhm.2077

Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Hospital study finds connection between dementia, delirium and declining health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916111006.htm>.
Penn State. (2013, September 16). Hospital study finds connection between dementia, delirium and declining health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916111006.htm
Penn State. "Hospital study finds connection between dementia, delirium and declining health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916111006.htm (accessed September 14, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Sleeping, Anxiety Pills Linked To Alzheimer's

Common Sleeping, Anxiety Pills Linked To Alzheimer's

Newsy (Sep. 10, 2014) Researchers found commonly prescribed sleeping and anxiety pills such as Xanax and Valium could lead to an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins