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Patient Isolation During Hospitalization Tied to Delirium

But no increased risk for patients who start their hospital stay under contact precautions

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who are newly placed under contact precautions during hospitalization are at a higher risk for delirium, according to a study published in the January issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Hannah R. Day, Ph.D., from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues retrospectively investigated whether an association exists between contact precautions and delirium among inpatients. Using generalized estimating equations, the association was assessed for all non-psychiatric adult patients who were admitted to a tertiary care center from 2007 to 2009.

The investigators found that, during the study period, a total of 60,151 admissions occurred in 45,266 unique non-psychiatric patients. A significant association was identified between contact precautions and delirium, medication, or restraint exposure, after adjusting for comorbid conditions, age, gender, intensive care unit status, and length of hospital stay. Delirium was associated with contact precautions only for those patients who were newly started on these precautions during their hospital stay (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.75), and not for those patients who were under contact precautions at the time of the admission (adjusted OR, 0.97; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.86 to 1.09).

"Although delirium was more common in patients who were newly placed under contact precautions during the course of their hospital admission, delirium was not associated with contact precautions started at hospital admission," the authors write.

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