delirium

Delirium is a medical emergency: an acute state of confusion that commonly affects older people, especially those admitted to hospital. It is hugely distressing for patients, families and carers and increases the risk of mortality. Other potentially serious consequences include longer hospital stays, falls, loss of independence and cognitive decline.

This collection of articles aims to help nurses and care staff to prevent delirium. If prevention is not possible, however, staff should be able to recognise delirium and assess and manage patients in a timely manner.

Please contact Lisa Berry, editor of Nursing Older People, at lisa.berry@rcni.com with your comments, suggestions or feedback and help raise awareness of our content by sharing this resource on social media using the weblink rcni.com/delirium


Delirium types, causes and signs – and how to manage the risk

Tips on recognising this common medical emergency and reducing post-operative risk

Managing agitation secondary to hyperactive delirium in deteriorating patients

Managing agitation secondary to hyperactive delirium in deteriorating patients

Caring for people with delirium and why restraint should be a last resort

Confusion, fatigue and nausea: how to spot the signs of hyponatraemia in older people

Nurses should be alert to low sodium levels and dehydration in older people

Preventing, identifying and managing delirium in nursing homes and acute settings

Preventing, identifying and managing delirium in nursing homes and acute settings

Older people in nursing homes are vulnerable to delirium, a condition causing confusion

How do I manage delirium in older people with COVID-19?

Delirium is a common coronavirus symptom, and people in long-term care facilities are at risk

Managing behaviour that challenges in people with dementia in the emergency department

Managing behaviour that challenges in people with dementia in the emergency department

Literature review on managing behaviour in people with dementia in emergency departments

Developing a dementia care leaders’ toolkit for older patients with cognitive impairment

Developing a dementia care leaders’ toolkit for older patients with cognitive impairment

Improving hospital care for older patients with cognitive impairment, including dementia and...

COVID-19: what can we learn from our care and treatment of older people during the...

The pandemic has underlined the importance of identifying older people living with frailty,...

Nurse attending to an older patient who is experiencing and needs hydration

How do I manage the care of an older person with delirium?

Guidelines recommend prompt detection by screening older people on admission to hospital

Picture of an older man in a hospital gown. Delirium is an acute state of confusion that commonly affects older people, but many risk factors can be mitigated and nurses need to be knowledgeable about it, says Vicky MacRae.

Nurses should be delirium champions and identify people at risk as early as possible

Many risk factors can be mitigated and nurses need to be knowledgeable about it

Differentiating between dementia, delirium and depression in older people

Differentiating between dementia, delirium and depression in older people

How to clinically assess, diagnose and treat patients

Meaningful engagement between secondary school students and older patients in an acute hospital

Engagement between secondary school students and older patients in an acute hospital

A project promoted meaningful interaction between schoolchildren and older patients

Treat delirium as a medical emergency

Delirium is a medical emergency and risk reduction should be considered throughout care

World Delirium Day: nurses will raise awareness of signs, symptoms and treatment

Features of the condition include disorientation, hallucinations and lack of responsiveness

Improving the identification of patients with delirium using the 4AT assessment

Delirium is a common neuropsychiatric disorder that all those working with older people will...

Recognising and managing delirium in patients receiving palliative and end of life care

Why you should read this article: » To improve your awareness of the causes of delirium in...

When someone with dementia has delirium, they may well be in pain too

Assessing for delirium helps nurses spot and control patients’ unspoken pain

Lifting the barriers to mental healthcare for older people

New resources are tackling the stigma and social issues that restrict access to care

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