The incidence of postoperative delirium in 50 consecutive surgical patients treated for at least 72 hours in an intensive care unit without windows was compared to 50 similar patients in an intensive care unit possessing windows. Over twice as many episodes of organic delirium were seen in the intensive care unit without windows, and among those patients with abnormal hemoglobin or blood urea nitrogen levels, the incidence of delirium was almost three times greater in the windowless unit. Age, type of surgical procedure, average temperature elevation following surgery, surgical staff, nursing care, or socioeconomic class of the patients had no effect on the incidence of delirium. It is concluded that the presence of windows is highly desirable in the intensive care unit for the prevention of sensory deprivation.
Wilson LM. Intensive Care DeliriumThe Effect of Outside Deprivation in a Windowless Unit. Arch Intern Med. 1972;130(2):225-226. doi:10.1001/archinte.1972.03650020055010