Heidi L. Lindroth, Ph.D., R.N., is a nurse scientist and practicing critical care nurse passionate about improving the care of hospitalized older adults. Her vision is a world without delirium, an acute confusion experienced after a health-related event such surgery or critical illness. Delirium comes with significant consequences including increased risk of death and decline in cognition and function.
Dr. Lindroth's interest in delirium stems from witnessing firsthand the terror and lasting detrimental impact of delirium in older adults. Evidence exists that delirium can be prevented, yet the techniques are not readily accessible or designed to be used by patients and families. Further, evidence shows that recognizing and responding to delirium is possible in the critical care setting, yet health care teams have difficulty consistently applying the needed tools in practice and promptly responding to delirium symptoms.
Dr. Lindroth's program of research is focused on partnering with health care teams, which include patients and families, to discover, translate and apply delirium-prevention evidence to the health care setting.
- Underlying vulnerability. Dr. Lindroth built the first prediction model focused on postoperative delirium severity in older adults. She collaborates internationally to identify brain- and blood-based biomarkers that indicate predisposition to delirium in older adults.
- Patient- and family-centered solutions. Dr. Lindroth is partnering with patients and families to codesign a web platform to accompany them along their surgical journeys, and to provide needed resources for patients to successfully recover after their surgeries and mitigate symptoms of delirium.
- Symptoms of delirium. Dr. Lindroth is working to develop symptom-based delirium phenotypes that are clinically applicable and that will assist health care teams in the management of delirium symptoms.
Significance to patient care
To achieve her vision of a world without delirium, Dr. Lindroth partners with health care teams, including patients and families, to discover, translate and apply scientific evidence to patient care environments to prevent and mitigate the symptoms of delirium.
- Early career investigator, Acute and Critical Care Across the Lifespan Research Interest Group, Midwest Nursing Research Society, 2020
- Graduate, Innovation and Implementation Science Certificate Program, Indiana University, 2020
- First place, Oral presentation at the European Delirium Association and Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh Joint Conference on Delirium, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2019