Mental incapacity in a hospitalized patient may go unrecognized, especially if the patient was competent prior to being admitted.
Risk factors for transient mental incapacity during a hospitalization:
(1) older age
(3) drug-induced cognitive impairment
(4) other adverse drug effects
(5) disorders affecting the brain (stroke, cardiac arrest, head injury, etc)
(6) acute illness
(7) metabolic disorders
(8) hypoxemia and/or hypercarbia
(9) borderline mental competence prior to the admission
(10) sleep deprivation
(11) withdrawal reaction
(12) adverse psychiatric response to illness
(13) severe chronic illness
A close family member may be the first person to recognize that there may be a problem.
A patient in the hospital should be evaluated for mental competence prior to making an important decision.
(1) inability to speak the local language well
(2) limited intellectual capacity
(3) disagreeing with what a healthcare provider wants to do
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Purpose: To identify a hospitalized patient who is at risk for a transient mental incapacity.
Objective: risk factors, informed consent, public health