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The Problem of Delirium in the Elderly

  • Suzanne WassEmail author
Chapter
  • 1.3k Downloads

Abstract

  • Delirium in the elderly is common and all elderly people presenting with confusion should be presumed to have delirium until proven otherwise.

  • Delirium in older people is multifactorial. Particular attention should be made to identify all precipitating factors, and targeted treatment should be given for reversible causes.

  • First-line management for the symptoms of delirium should focus on non-pharmacological strategies.

  • Sedative medication should be used as a last resort and reserved for those with severe agitation or distressing symptoms, whose behavioural disturbances may pose a risk to themselves or others.

  • Delirium screening and prevention strategies should be maintained throughout the patients’ journey to minimize the long-term risks of increased mortality, cognitive and functional decline and the psychological impacts that are associated with an episode of delirium.

Notes

Glossary

ADLs

Activities of daily living

BP

Blood pressure

BSL

Blood sugar level

CAM

Confusion assessment method

CNS

Central nervous system

CRP

C-reactive protein

CT

Computerized tomography

CVA

Cerebrovascular accident

CXR

Chest X-ray

ECG

Electrocardiogram

ECT

Electroconvulsive therapy

ED

Emergency department

EEG

Electroencephalogram

EUC

Electrolytes, urea and creatinine

FBC

Full blood count

GP

General practitioner

ICU

Intensive care unit

IDC

Indwelling catheter

LFT

Liver function tests

LP

Lumbar puncture

MCI

Mild cognitive impairment

MMSE

Mini Mental State Examination

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging

OTC

Over the counter

STM

Short-term memory

TSH

Thyroid stimulating hormone

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Copyright information

© The Editor(s)  2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Calvary Mater NewcastleNewcastleAustralia

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