“Better Care and Better Outcomes through Interdisciplinary Family Centered Approaches to Delirium across the Continuum”
The symposium on “Better Care and Better Outcomes through Interdisciplinary Family Centered Approaches to Delirium across the Continuum,” by Tara A. Cortes PhD, RN, FAAN, executive director, the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, and professor of geriatric nursing, was selected as the 2012 GSA Health Sciences Presidential Symposium at the 65th annual Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Health Sciences meeting in San Diego this past November.
GSA's Annual Scientific Meeting brings together more than 4,000 of the brightest minds in the field of aging. This meeting is the premier gathering of gerontologists from both the United States and around the world. They participate in over 400 scientific sessions including symposia, paper, and poster presentations. GSA’s scientific program is one of the most respected and competitive of its kind, seeking to achieve a deeper and more meaningful understanding of aging and its implications.
One of the most prevalent health issues as older adults move within the health care system is change in cognitive function. Patients with cognitive dysfunction, namely delirium and dementia, present challenges resulting in more complicated discharges and an increased length of stay.
“Delirium is often unrecognized in older adults, particularly during hospitalization and in transition to other health care settings,” said Dr. Cortes.
Delirium has been described as a “medical emergency” that can lead to poor health outcomes, delayed discharge from a hospital, and re-admission to a hospital from a nursing home. Dr Cortes’ session addressed the urgent need to identify and treat delirium in multiple settings and through transitions.
The presentations described the care environment, precipitating factors leading to delirium, and interventions to promote early diagnosis and resolution of delirium in acute care and in transitions to other settings through interprofessional team and family centered approaches.
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