Korean J Hosp Palliat Care.  2016 Jun;19(2):119-126. 10.14475/kjhpc.2016.19.2.119.

Retrospective Cohort Study on the Administration of Sedative for Delirium in Terminally Ill Cancer Patients and Survival Time

Affiliations
  • 1College of Nursing, Pusan National University, Yangsan, Korea.
  • 2Department of Nursing, Pusan National University Hospital, Busan, Korea. hasim102@hanmail.net

Abstract

PURPOSE
This study analyzed the difference in survival time of patients with delirium according to sedative medication.
METHODS
From January 2012 through December 2013, a retrospective cohort study was performed using the electronic medical records (EMR) of Pusan National University Hospital. Among 900 patients who died from cancer, we selected 240 who suffered delirium based on the EMR. The Nu-DESC delirium screening test was used to diagnose delirium.
RESULTS
The median length of delirium period was five days. Delirium characteristics were dominated by inappropriate behaviors (35.0%). Sedatives were administered in 72.1% of the cases. The most frequently used sedative was haloperidol which was used in 59.6% of cases. The delirium period significantly differed by patients' age (F=3.96, P=0.021), cancer type (F=3.31, P=0.010), chemotherapy (t=−3.44 P=0.001). The average survival time was 16.85 days for the sedative medication group and 9.37 days for the non-medication group, which, however, was not significant (t=1.766, P=0.079).
CONCLUSION
In this study, the use of sedatives did not affect patients' survival time. Thus, appropriate sedative medication can be positively recommended to comfort terminal cancer patients and their families.

Keyword

Terminally ill; Delirium; Hypnotics and sedatives; Survival rate
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