Patient Safety Week and Delirium Awareness Day: Be a Paladin for Patients

Two important events to announce: National Patient Safety Week runs from March 12-18, 2017 and closely connected with this is The International Federation of Delirium Societies (I-Delirium) World Delirium Awareness Day – March 15, 2017.

The I-Delirium organization is composed of the Australasian Delirium Association, the American Delirium Society, and the European Delirium Association. And what better way for all three organizations to promote patient safety than to raise awareness about delirium.

Try the delirium quiz.

As a psychiatric consultant in the general hospital, I see the devastation of delirium every day. It cuts down young and old alike. There is no mercy in nature. But there is hope (that peculiar human tendency) for research, vigilance, humanism, and tenacity to help us turn the corner and not just dream of protecting our fragile brains from delirium–but do it.

We can’t prevent every case of delirium. But we can prevent some of them. Before you write that order for Versed and Demerol, think about it. Think of the tragedy it might cause. I’m not overstating the case. First steps like that happen all the time in hospitals because we don’t think first about the terrible destructive power of some of the drugs we use.

If delirium doesn’t kill, it can maim. I’ve seen it cause dementia in the vulnerable and even those not so vulnerable. The elderly are at very high risk–and the very young.

Every day is a day to be the safest health care professional I can be–a paladin for safety; a paladin against delirium.

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