NHS raises awareness

NHS Tayside
NHS Tayside

Delirium Awareness Week aims to raise the profile of this acute condition that causes symptoms such as confusion, agitation, drowsiness and abnormal thoughts.

Information stands offering advice and further information about delirium will be held every day this week during lunchtimes at Whitehills Health and Community Care Centre in Forfar and Stracathro Hospital near Brechin, in the concourse area and on level five of Ninewells Hospital, at Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI) outside wards four to six.

A series of lunchtime talks aimed primarily but not exclusively at healthcare staff will be held in Ninewells, PRI and Stracathro, covering topics such as identifying people at risk of delirium, preventing and diagnosing delirium and practical tips for helping those with delirium.

Dr Matt Lambert, Clinical Lecturer and Specialty Registrar in Medicine for the Elderly and Stroke with NHS Tayside, said: “Delirium is common in the community and occurs in 25-60% of older people in hospital, especially those with dementia.

“It is often not recognised or treated appropriately due to a widespread lack of appreciation of the causes and importance of delirium.

“We hope that the events going on throughout the week will improve how patients are treated and raise awareness amongst those who may have contact with people with delirium from medical staff to carers, relatives and the general public.”

Delirium is a sudden change in brain function which can make someone to appear confused, agitated or drowsy/sleepy.

It is usually caused by a combination of triggers including infection, changes in medication, constipation, other medical illnesses, admission to hospital or moving to unfamiliar places.

Only a small change is needed to trigger delirium. Recognising the condition quickly allows identification and management of all the triggers and can help prevent people with delirium from coming to more harm or distress.