Understanding delirium and confusion

Understanding delirium and confusion

Definition and descriptors

Delirium is a common neuropsychiatric diagnosis in patients receiving palliative care. The syndrome is defined by

  • an acute change in awareness and attention
  • other changes in cognition, such as perceptual disturbance
  • the development of the above symptoms over hours to days
  • fluctuation of these symptoms during the course of a day

Delirium is also referred to as ‘acute confusional state’, and in end-of-life care, much of what is referred to as ‘terminal restlessness’ is likely to reflect delirium or subsyndromal delirium (Lawlor et al., 2000). Please see Figure 14.1 for an overview of the clinical approach to delirium, described below.


Aug 29, 2017 | Posted by in NURSING | Comments Off on Understanding delirium and confusion

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