Delirium is common in elderly patients. It is often underdiagnosed and mismanaged leading to significant morbidity and mortality.
- Presume that every elderly patient with confusion has delirium until proven otherwise.
- Early detection can be improved with the use of the Confusion Assessment Method and detailed history taking from family or carers.
- Formulate individual nonpharmacological management plans, and reserve antipsychotic or sedative medication for those with the most distressing symptoms.
- Education and support of families, carers and residential home staff is essential.
- Ensure close follow up in the community and good communication between carers and primary care practitioners.