Delirium Care Pathways

Risk Factors

Page last updated: 07 November 2011

Risk factors according to the health care setting


The following table lists the risk factors for delirium according to the health setting.


Health Care Setting

Hospital - intensive care units, aged care wards, and neurology wards


(based on published high level evidence*)

Hospital - surgical wards in particular orthopaedic, cardiac and neurosurgery wards

(based on published high level evidence*)

Residential care and Community care



(no published high level evidence)

Risk factors


Pre-existing cognitive impairment including dementia

Severe medical illness

Age > 70 years

Visual impairment

Depression

Abnormal sodium

Use of indwelling catheter

Use of physical restraints

Adding three or more medications during hospitalisation

Pre-existing cognitive impairment including dementia

Severe medical illness

Age > 70 years

Visual impairment

Depression

Abnormal sodium

Use of indwelling catheter

Use of physical restraints

Adding three or more medications during hospitalisation

Exposure to pethidine

Exposure to benzodiazepine

History of delerium

Alcohol related health concerns

Exposure to narcotic analgesics preoperatively

Pre-existing cognitive impairment including dementia

Illness / infection

Age > 70 years

Visual impairment

Depression

Abnormal serum sodium

Use of indwelling catheter

Use of physical restraints

Multiple medication use

Alcohol related health concerns

Exposure to benzodiazepine

Return from hospitalisation

Hearing impairment

* This list of risk factors has been collated from both risk factor and risk prediction model studies.



Adapted from: Clinical Epidemiology and Health Services Evaluation Unit 2006, Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Delirium in Older People, Victorian Government Department of Human Services, Melbourne, Victoria