"improving intensive care in Scotland"

Delirium in ICU

Non-pharmacological treatments


  • Provide visual and hearing aids
  • Encourage communication and re-orientate the patient repetitively
  • Have the same nurse caring for the patient where possible
  • Display familiar objects from patient’s home, in the room
  • Allow television during the day, with daily news
  • Non verbal music


  • Sleep aids: lights on during the day, off at night.
  • Control excess noise at night
  • Ambulate and mobilise patient early and often

Clinical parameters

  • Maintain systolic pressure > 90 mmHg
  • Maintain oxygen saturations > 92%
  • Treat underlying metabolic derangements and infections

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