Delirium is an acute reversible change in mental status characterized by fluctuations in awareness and attention, which often result in complications such as rehospitalization and delayed discharge from SNFs. Although delirium is modifiable and potentially preventable, it is common in patients with heart failure and associated with poor outcomes.
In a recent study, patients with heart failure discharged to SNFs who had delirium on admission were less likely to demonstrate functional improvement and more likely to experience regression in function compared with patients without delirium. A better understanding of the association between delirium and functional recovery may have potential implications for improving outcomes for patients with heart failure.
Residents with heart failure are often “fragile” and hospitalization can and often does set them back functionally. The goal of course, would be to prevent hospitalization as delirium is a common condition associated with seniors in hospital settings. Dehydration can also be a factor in delirium; are we keeping our residents hydrated? With the warmer weather approaching this is an even bigger concern. At the end of the day, pay close attention to those residents at risk, keep them hydrated, assist in preventing infection, and maintain their cardiac medication regime per physician orders.
Stay well, roll up your sleeves, and stay tuned!