European journal of cancer care vol:13 issue:5 pages:494-500
Delirium poses a common and multifactorial complication in older patients with cancer. Delirium independently contributes to poorer clinical outcomes and impedes communication between patients with cancer, their family and health care providers. Because of its clinical impact and potential reversibility, efforts for prevention, early recognition or prompt treatment are critical. However, nurses and other health care providers often fail to recognize delirium or misattribute its symptoms to dementia, depression or old age. Yet, failure to determine an individual's risk for delirium can initiate the cascade of negative events causing additional distress for patients, family and health care providers alike. Therefore, parameters for determining an individual's risk for delirium and guidelines for the routine and systematic assessment of cognitive functioning are provided to form a basis for the prompt and accurate diagnosis of delirium. Guidelines for the prevention and treatment of delirium are also discussed.