Delirium is a complex disorder marked by the acute onset of mental status change with an associated fluctuating course. Despite the fact that delirium is a common clinical entity in elderly hospitalized patients, the condition may present in any patient regardless of medical comorbidities. Recognition within the emergency setting is becoming increasingly important, as the diagnosis frequently is missed.
The term dementia is derived from the Latin word for “out of one’s mind.” It describes a deterioration of intellectual faculties, which may include memory, attention, learning, and judgment, and can be accompanied by emotional disturbance and personality changes. It is most often a result of a neurodegenerative process, such as Alzheimer’s disease, but also can be caused by more than 50 different diseases and disorders, including strokes, trauma, infectious diseases, and metabolic disorders.
The elderly operative patient has very different and specific needs compared to a younger woman. In addition to a higher risk of medical comorbidities, elderly women are affected by cognitive impairment, depression, gait, and balance disturbances.
With an ever-expanding range of hazardous drugs, hospitals must identify employees at risk and conduct medical surveillance at least annually, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).