Hospital isolation 'could increase risk of delirium'

13 December 2011

Healthcare research has found that patients who are left in isolation during hospital stays are at a higher risk of developing delirium - a potentially dangerous change in mental state.

According to the study published in the January edition of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology - the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America - researchers suggested that those who began their stay in an isolated environment could potentially begin to see signs of delirium.

The analysts at the University of Maryland School of Medicine looked at data collected over two years and found that patients who were placed on contact precautions at some point after admission to the hospital were 1.75 times more likely to have mental stability issues.

Isolation can occur when trying to combat hard-to-treat hospital super bugs such as MRSA.

Dr Hannah Day, physician at the hospital and leader of the study, said: "Patients in our study who were placed on contact precautions later in their hospitalisation were generally sicker than those who were on contact precautions from the outset."

According to the New York Times, known causes of delirium currently include drug abuse, infections such as urinary tract infections or pneumonia in people who already have brain damage from stroke or dementia

Posted by Philip Briggs

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