Mental confusion afflicts as many as three in 10 stroke patients who have been admitted to hospital, research suggests.
Those who suffer delirium after a stroke are said to be five times more likely to die.
The likelihood of them being put into long-term care also increases, according to analysis by staff at the Stroke Outcomes Research Centre in St Michael’s Hospital, Bristol.
Researchers looked at the results of 10 studies involving around 2,000 patients.
The previous research had investigated the most common outcomes for people who had delirium after a stroke: death and in-patient rates over 12 months; the time spent being cared for in a hospital; and the arrangements made after patients are released from hospital.
Gustavo Saposnik, who runs the centre and who wrote the research findings, said: “Early recognition and prevention of delirium are important for a quick recovery, better quality of life and timely discharge for patients who have suffered a stroke.”
Dr Saposnik, admitting that further research is needed for a more concrete conclusion, said the purpose of the analysis is to improve care for stroke patients by detecting and intervening in delirium cases as early as possible.
Staff at the Bristol hospital have devised a delirium prevention programme which uses basic methods of ensuring stroke patients remain oriented, such as opening blinds in the daytime and letting people know what the date is every day.