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Recall problem for delirious ICU patients

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Patients who are delirious while in ICU have significantly less factual recall of their stay than non-delirious patients, according to Australian researchers.

Patients who are delirious while in ICU have significantly less factual recall of their stay than non-delirious patients, according to Australian researchers.

They interviewed 41 former ICU patients, of which 44% had been delirious, on their experiences during admission. They said overall that 83% of the patients reported factual memories 18 to 24 months after discharge.

However, only 67% of delirious patients reported factual memories compared with 96% of non-delirious patients, the authors said.

'Post-ICU follow-up should include filling in the 'missing gaps', particularly for delirious patients,' they said. 'Ongoing explanations and a caring environment may assist the patient in making a complete recovery both physically and mentally.'

Journal of Clinical Nursing (2007) 16: 1669-1677

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