Identifying the causes of patient agitation can be important for good patient outcomes.1
But once you’ve identified the causes, what do you do next?
What’s the most effective response?
For some patients it will be enough to provide a quieter, more soothing ICU environment.1 Others will need pharmacological interventions or adjustment of their ventilator settings.2,3
In this section, we highlight some of the latest thoughts and practices on how to manage the ICU patient’s agitation and discomfort, while potentially improving outcomes.2-4
By carefully considering when and why you use sedation and appropriately managing patient discomfort, you may be able to reduce unnecessary sedation.3
Cohen IL. Current issues in agitation management. Advanced Studies Med. 2002;2(9):332-337.
Epstein SK. How often does patient-ventilator asynchrony occur and what are the consequences? Respir Care. 2011;56(1):25-38.
Barr J, Fraser GL, Puntillo K, et al; American College of Critical Care Medicine. Clinical practice guidelines for the management of pain, agitation, and delirium in adult patients in the intensive care unit. Crit Care Med. 2013;41(1):263-306.
Wenham T, Pittard A. Intensive care unit environment. Continuing Education Anaesth Crit Care Pain. 2009;9(6):178-183.