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  1. Marshall, Margaret Cole MS, MA, APRN, BC
  2. Soucy, Mark D. PhD, APRN, BC


Delirium in the intensive care unit (ICU) is a complex, common, and problematic condition that interferes with healing and recovery. It leads to higher morbidity and mortality and extended hospital stays. The aging population older than 65, and more likely to develop delirium, is the fastest growing population in the United States and is increasingly seen in the ICU. Delirium is often unrecognized and misdiagnosed, which leads to mistreatment or lack of appropriate treatment. This article discusses the definition of delirium, pathogenesis, clinical practice guidelines, newer assessment tools for ICU, and nursing interventions directed toward prevention and early identification of delirium.