Effect on Reducing Delirium (Dr. Alain Vuylsteke & Dr. Kim Giraud)

This pilot cluster-randomised controlled trial aims to determine whether the use of bedsideĀ mirrors, as a clearly defined part of patients’ postsurgicalĀ ICUĀ care, can reduce delirium and improve outcomes in the older cardiac surgical patient.

The risk of delirium, an acute disturbance in mental status and cognition that occurs commonly after cardiac surgery, increases sharply from the age of about 65 years. Its occurrence, even for one day, is associated with longer ICU and hospital stays, increased costs, and negative physical and cognitive outcomes at one year. In spite of previous prevention and intervention research, delirium incidence in the older cardiac surgical patient remains high (up to 72%).

ICU clinicians at Papworth Hospital have made observations suggesting that delirium could be reduced using a novel and unconventional strategy of bedside mirrors. Mirrors of any type are uncommon in ICU environments, but their occasional use by patients on our ICU has been reported by bedside clinicians and physiotherapists to result in:

  • a normalisation of mental status and attention (core delirium diagnostic criteria), and
  • earlier physical mobilisation (associated with reduced delirium risk), particularly in older-aged patients

Evidence from other sources supports mirrors’ beneficial effect in these areas, but mirror use has never to our knowledge been explored for the reduction of delirium. This pilot study seeks to determine whether the use of bedside mirrors, as a clearly defined part of patients’ postsurgical ICU care, can reduce delirium and improve outcomes in the older cardiac surgical patient.