Identifying the causes of patient agitation can be important for good patient outcomes.([FOOTNOTE=Cohen IL. Current issues in agitation management. Advanced Studies Med. 2002;2(9):332-337. ],[ANCHOR=],[LINK=])

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.([FOOTNOTE=Epstein SK. How often does patient-ventilator asynchrony occur and what are the consequences? Respir Care. 2011;56(1):25-38.],[ANCHOR=],[LINK=]),([FOOTNOTE=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.],[ANCHOR=],[LINK=])

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.2,3,([FOOTNOTE=Wenham T, Pittard A. Intensive care unit environment. Continuing Education Anaesth Crit Care Pain. 2009;9(6):178-183.],[ANCHOR=],[LINK=])

By carefully considering when and why you use sedation and appropriately managing patient discomfort, you may be able to reduce unnecessary sedation.3

Causes of Agitation

Being on a ventilator can be a disturbing experience, causing many patients to show signs of agitation.([FOOTNOTE=Siegel MD. Management of agitation in the intensive care unit.Clin Chest Med.2003;24(4):713-725.],[ANCHOR=],[LINK=])