Intensive Care Unit (ICU) delirium is a neuropsyciatric disorder, mostly characterized by consciousness disturbance. It is a serious clinical condition associated with a longer hospital stay, increased cost, prolonged mechanical ventilation, a worse cognitive and functional outcome and higher mortality rate after discharge from hospital. Delirium in children hospitalized in Pediatric Intensive Care
Unit (PICU) is often underestimated or remains undiagnosed. Given the diagnostic tools that exist and the child’s critical condition, age and developmental stage, it is often difficult to estimate delirium in children. The aim of this literature review is to describe the characteristics and the difficulties in diagnosing delirium in critically ill children and highlight the need for furthermore research concerning prognosis, diagnosis and therapy in this population. The nurses’ role in diagnosing and treating the syndrome in children is fundamental.
Key Words: children, critical care, delirium, intensive care unit, psychosis,