Please wait a minute...
TMR Integrative Nursing  2018, Vol. 2 Issue (1): 18-26    DOI: 10.12032/TMRIN20180310
ICU Delirium: A concept analysis

Lian-Lian Tang1*

1MSn, Department of nursing management, The First Hospital of Qinhuangdao, Qinhuangdao, China.

Download:   PDF(448KB)
Export: BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      


Objective: To explore and analyze the concept of intensive care unit (ICU) delirium. Method: Walker and Avant’s strategy of analysis was adopted to this research. Results: ICU delirium is defined as the presence of an acute cognitive impairment, accompanied by a disturbance of consciousness with fluctuating inattention, and the array of dysfunctions only developed for a short period of time in ICU. The antecedents of ICU delirium include (1) the high severity of illness, (2) pain, (3) sedative use, (4) immobilization, (5) sleep deprivation and (6) unpleasant awareness. The consequences involve (1) promoting the risks of self-extubation and unplanned removal of catheters, (2) prolonging the length of ICU stay, (3) increasing the mortality of critical patients and (4) highly distressing the patients’ family members and caregivers. Some different ICU delirium assessment instruments are gathered. Confusion Assessment Method for Intensive Care Unit assessment tool (CAM-ICU) was the most popular diagnostic tool used by nurses. Conclusion: Concept analysis as an extension and development of nursing theory can create a linkage between practice and theory. It will create a knowledge foundation of ICU delirium and provide a theoretical basis to construct nursing theory. This study can help ICU nurses to understand and recognize ICU delirium. ICU nurses will be enlightened to develop effective interventions of ICU delirium to improve critical patients’ clinical outcomes.

Highlights  Highlights This study identifiedthe attributes of ICU delirium emerged from a number of literature: acute cognitive impairment, acute disturbance of consciousness, fluctuating inattention, and developed for a short period of time.The presentation of a model case and a contrary case has shown the differences related to attributes between effective or invalid ICU delirium. Editor’s Summary Though a growing number of research publications made great contributions to understand ICU delirium, serious under-recognized issues still remain in healthcare providers globally. This study carry out an assessment, a professional judgment, and a concept analysis of ICU delirium.
Key wordsDelirium      ICU      Intensive Care      Concept analysis     
Published: 24 March 2018
Corresponding Authors: Lian-Lian Tang, Department of Nursing Management, The First Hospital of Qinhuangdao, No.258, Wenhua Road, Haigang District, Qinhuangdao, China. Email: Tel: 0086-13784496420     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Lian-Lian Tang. ICU Delirium: A concept analysis. TMR Integrative Nursing, 2018, 2(1): 18-26.

URL:     OR

[1] Zeng Qiao-Miao, Liao Yao, Chen Wen-Feng. Quality of life in head and neck cancer survivors: A concept analysis[J]. TMR Integrative Nursing, 2018, 2(1): 34-41.
[2] Yang Hua. Coping: a concept analysis in the cancer context[J]. TMR Integrative Nursing, 2018, 2(1): 27-33.
[3] Liu Hui, Tian Xu. Adherence-A concept analysis in the context of cardiac rehabilitation[J]. TMR Integrative Nursing, 2018, 2(1): 12-17.
[4] Ling Dong-Lan, Yu Hong-Jing. Self-management A concept analysis of self-management for cancer patients’ home-basedrehabilitation[J]. TMR Integrative Nursing, 2018, 2(1): 4-11.