SIGN 157: Risk reduction and management of delirium
This guideline provides recommendations based on current evidence for best practice in the detection, assessment, treatment and follow up of adults with delirium, as well as reducing the risk of delirium.
Delirium is among the most common of medical emergencies. Prevalence is around 20% in adult acute general medical patients, and higher in particular clinical groups, such as patients in intensive care units. It affects up to 50% of those who have hip fracture and up to 75% in intensive care. Preventative measures can reduce the incidence of delirium.
Remit and target users
This guideline provides recommendations based on current evidence for best practice in the detection, assessment, treatment and follow up of adults with delirium, as well as reducing the risk of delirium. The guideline applies to all settings: home, long-term care, hospital, and hospice. The remit excludes delirium secondary solely to alcohol and illicit substances use. It also excludes delirium in children.
This guideline will be of interest to primary and secondary healthcare professionals, community and care home staff involved in the care of patients at risk of, or experiencing, delirium, as well as patients and carers.
How this guideline was developed
This guideline was developed using a standard methodology based on a systematic review of the evidence. Further details can be found in SIGN 50: A Guideline Developer’s Handbook.
Keeping up to date
This guideline was published in 2019 and will be considered for review in three years. The review history, and any updates to the guideline in the interim period, will be noted in the review report.