Vulnerability for the Development of Delirium in Residents of Long Term Care Facilities: A Concept Analysis

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Kimberly Cora Beaudoin

Abstract

Delirium is a temporary condition, characterized by the sudden onset of confusion and other behavioural changes. It is often caused by an underlying medical condition. Delirium is avoidable and treatable, but if it is unrecognized, delirium results in poor health outcomes and increased mortality in the elderly. The purpose of this paper was to analyze the concept of vulnerability in relation to delirium in residents of long term care facilities using the Walker and Avant concept analysis framework. The results outline a description of the concept of vulnerability for the development of delirium in these residents. Included are the predisposing and precipitating factors to the development of delirium. The relationship between the predisposing and precipitating factors demonstrates the degree of vulnerability. For example, the number and seriousness of predisposing factors in relation to the degree and number of precipitating factors, provides a gauge for the extent of vulnerability of a person in developing delirium. Examining vulnerability for the development of delirium for residents in long term care provides specific, operational definitions to be used in research studies, useful for further research to refine current tools, or develop new ones that can be used to reduce vulnerability to delirium in residents of long term care. Most importantly this work has the potential to promote better health outcomes.

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