1. Evaluation of consciousness level:
This involves determining the patient's level of consciousness using standardized scales, such as the Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale (RASS) or the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). It helps gauge the patient's awareness and responsiveness.
2. Assessment of attention span:
The healthcare provider evaluates the patient's ability to focus on tasks, follow commands, and maintain attention, as attention deficits are common in delirium.
3. Monitoring of psychomotor activity:
This refers to observing the patient's physical activity and movements, ranging from hypoactivity to hyperactivity, which can indicate delirium.
4. Documentation of sleep-wake cycle disturbances:
Sleep disturbances are associated with delirium. Recording the patient's sleep patterns helps identify disruptions and their potential impact on cognitive function.
5. Identification of perceptual disturbances:
Delirious patients may experience sensory misperceptions or hallucinations. Detecting these disturbances aids in diagnosis.
6. Analysis of thought process and content:
Evaluating the coherence of the patient's thoughts and their content helps uncover disorganized thinking and cognitive impairment.
7. Observation of mood fluctuations:
Mood changes, such as sudden shifts in affect, can be indicative of delirium. Monitoring these fluctuations is crucial.
8. Review of delirium risk factors:
Identifying factors that increase the likelihood of delirium, such as age, pre-existing cognitive impairment, and medical conditions, guides prevention strategies.
9. Consideration of medication-induced factors:
Certain medications can contribute to delirium. A review of the patient's drug regimen helps identify potential culprits.
10. Inclusion of family or caregiver input:
Input from family members or caregivers can provide valuable information about the patient's baseline cognitive function and help detect delirium.