SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Rehabilitation;
  • head injury;
  • practice implications

Abstract

Purpose

To differentiate between expected behavior of a newly brain-injured person and an episode of delirium.

Methods

This article reviews the different types of delirium and predisposing risk factors that place patients at risk for developing delirium.

Findings

This case study illustrates how delirium can mimic expected behaviors seen in patients with traumatic brain injuries and emphasizes the importance of assessing for risk factors of delirium.

Conclusions

Clinicians can easily misdiagnose delirium. Nurses should assess every patient for signs and symptoms of delirium, using a standardized tool, such as the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) or Cognitive Test for Delirium (CTD).

Clinical Relevance

Improved education on the risk factors for and symptoms of delirium is necessary for the rehabilitation nurse to ensure early diagnosis and treatment of this potentially life-threatening condition.