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Doctors At Mercy Fitzgerald Find New Way To Help ICU Patients

A good night's sleep is a key to helping ICU patients stave off delirium, doctors say. (file photo)

A good night’s sleep is a key to helping ICU patients stave off delirium, doctors say. (file photo)

(Photo by Ed Fischer) Lynne Adkins
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CBS Philly (con't)

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By Lynne Adkins

DARBY, Pa. (CBS) - Doctors at a hospital in Darby have found a way to reduce the incidence of a well-known problem for intensive care patients.

Research shows that up to 80-percent of ICU patients suffer from delirium which can lead to confusion, falls and longer hospital stays. Dr. Dominic Valentino, director of critical care at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital says his staff has discovered that giving patient uninterrupted sleep from midnight to 4:30am greatly reduced the problem.

“There’s a lot of upsides for the patients and their family members and there’s very little downside you’re not subjecting the patient to a medication,” he said. “The patients are still being safely monitored and yet we know we’re doing something that physiologically a patient needs to maintain mental alertness and brain function.”

The protected sleep time has been adopted by other Mercy Health System hospitals.

 

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