Recognizing Delirium: A Checklist for Caregivers
- VHL HealthSheet #41431_VA
Delirium is a sudden change in a person’s mental state that comes and goes over short periods of time. It can cause a person to have a hard time paying attention or following a conversation. Thinking and speech may be confused, illogical, unclear, and unpredictable. A person’s mental state may vary from being restless and alert to sluggish and sleepy. It’s important to remember that the signs of delirium happen quickly, over the course of hours or days. They can come and go, and may be worse later in the day. And a person may shift between the signs.
How Is Delirium Treated?
- VHL HealthSheet #41423_VA
Delirium is a medical emergency. It has a big effect on the health of older adults. People with delirium tend to have a decline in their day-to-day living. They may also become unable to care for themselves. People with delirium often need to stay extra days in the hospital. They are also at higher risk for health problems, falls, and earlier death. Delirium is treated by finding and treating the underlying cause.