Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU (CAM-ICU)

Learn more about the Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU (CAM-ICU), its purpose, and how to use it. Plus, get a free PDF guide and example.

By Ericka Pingol on Apr 08, 2024.

Fact Checked by RJ Gumban.

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What is a Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU (CAM-ICU)?

Delirium is a severe condition that can affect critically ill patients in the ICU. It is characterized by sudden changes in mental status, such as confusion, disorientation, and difficulty concentrating. It often causes agitation, restlessness, and hallucinations. If left untreated, delirium can result in physical or psychological harm to the patient, prolonged hospital stays, and increased mortality rates.

Clinicians use the (CAM-ICU) to determine and assess delirium in critically ill patients in the ICU. This tool evaluates four criteria associated with delirium: alteration in mental status, inattention, altered level of consciousness, and disorganized thinking.

Based on the original Confusion Assessment Method (CAM), the CAM-ICU is designed to be a reliable source for clinically assessing delirium in the ICU setting. It is simple to use and requires no specialized equipment or additional training.

Printable Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU (CAM-ICU)

Download this Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU (CAM-ICU) and assess delirium in critically ill patients.

How does this CAM-ICU work?

This free CAM-ICU template is simple and easy to use. Here's how to get started:

Step One: Download the form

Access the CAM-ICU worksheet using the link on this page. You can also get it from the Carepatron app or the resources library.

Step Two: Complete the worksheet

Fill out the worksheet with information about your patient's mental state. This includes their alertness level, changes in mental status, attention span, and disorganized thinking.

Step Three: Calculate the score

Add up your patient's score to determine their level of delirium. If the score is two or more, your patient is considered to have delirium and should be monitored closely.

Step Four: Consult a physician

The CAM-ICU is only meant to be used as an initial assessment tool. If you suspect your patient has delirium, consult a physician to confirm the diagnosis and order any necessary additional testing.

CAM-ICU example (sample)

We have designed a CAM-ICU example to help you better understand how this template works. This sample is written as an assessment of a hypothetical patient in the ICU experiencing delirium. It exhibits how the CAM-ICU criteria can be used to identify and assess delirium. You can view the sample here or download the PDF version.

Download the free CAM-ICU example (sample)

CAM-ICU example (sample)

When to use this CAM-ICU Template?

You can use the CAM-ICU i as an initial assessment tool for critically ill patients. It should not be used as a diagnosis but rather as a guide for further investigations. You can administer this assessment if or when:

Your patient is in the ICU and may be experiencing delirium

This tool is a quick and easy way to detect delirium in an ICU patient. It takes just minutes to complete and can alert you of potential delirium.

You are looking to monitor your patient’s mental status over time

The CAM-ICU can also track your patient’s mental status over time. You can compare scores from multiple assessments to determine any changes in their mental status. This can be useful when deciding if more intervention is needed or if the patient is improving over time.

You want to confirm your diagnosis or look for changes in mental status

The CAM-ICU is a reliable source that can help you make more informed decisions about your patient’s care. When combined with other assessments, it can help confirm your diagnosis.

You need to document your findings

You can use this assessment tool to provide an accurate and detailed record of your findings. This can be helpful when sharing information with other providers or documenting results for future reference.

Who is this CAM-ICU PDF for?

The CAM-ICU assessment is designed to be used by healthcare professionals in the ICU setting. Specifically, it's a handy tool for:

  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • Therapists
  • Social workers
  • Healthcare administrators
  • Physicians
  • General practitioners
  • Anyone responsible for assessing patients in the ICU

However, note that the CAM-ICU assessment should only be used as an initial assessment tool. It should NOT replace a complete medical evaluation and diagnosis.

Electronic Health Records Software Feedback

Why use this CAM-ICU app?

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How to interpret the CAM ICU score?
How to interpret the CAM ICU score?

Commonly asked questions

How to interpret the CAM ICU score?

The CAM-ICU evaluates four criteria: alteration in mental status, inattention, altered level of consciousness, and disorganized thinking. If the patient displays at least two of these features, they are considered to have delirium.

What does the CAM ICU measure?

The CAM-ICU assessment measures the presence and severity of delirium in critically ill patients.

How to administer the CAM ICU?

To administer the CAM-ICU assessment, you should ask questions and observe your patient for signs of delirium. Ask questions about orientation, immediate recall, sustained attention, and abstract thinking. Additionally, you should observe and note your patient's behavior and level of consciousness.

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