Preventing Delirium

Thursday, September 25, 2014

When an older person becomes ill and goes into the hospital, there is an increased risk of developing delirium. Dr. Edward Hill tells us some ways you may prevent the onset of delirium in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Delirium is a sudden episode of confusion. It lowers your ability to think clearly, focus or stay alert.

It is most often caused by physical or mental illness. Many disorders cause delirium. Often, the conditions are ones that do not allow the brain to get oxygen or other substances.

Delirium is common in older people, especially when in the hospital. About one in three older persons in the hospital gets it.

Family members and caregivers can help prevent delirium by:

Learning more about it from doctors and nurses

Putting a clock and a calendar in the hospital room

Encouraging the use of glasses, dentures or hearing aids

Putting familiar objects, such as photographs, pillows and a radio, in the hospital room

Reorienting the patient as needed such as telling the patient the current date and time, where he or she is, and who visitors are

Keeping pen and paper for notes and messages

Eating meals with the patient, and

Enjoying music or reading books aloud to the patient

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.