Delirium affects more elderly, results in more nursing home admissions

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Up to one-third of elderly hospital patient experience delirium, which can lead to lengthier hospital stays or nursing home admissions, according to recent news items.

A study from researchers at Indiana University finds that elderly hospital patients who experience delirium are likely to remain hospitalized for an additional six days. As many as 75% of those patients leave the hospital and are admitted to a nursing home, The New York Times reported. Delirium disproportionately affects elderly patients, and triggers include infections, surgery and catheter insertion.

The report's author, Dr. Malaz A. Boustani, referred to delirium among elderly patients as “more dangerous than a fall,” the Times reported. Delirium can also contribute to death by leading to further complications, such as pneumonia or blood clots, according to the Times.