Delirium: Why we should (palliative) care

In palliative care, delirium is everyone’s business. Anyone can get delirium if they are seriously ill. It is a distressing symptom – for the person with delirium, their loved ones and the professionals who care for them. Although it is common, potentially preventable and may be reversible, it is often missed, misdiagnosed and mismanaged despite our best intentions.

This 5-minute video is an excellent resource for the public and health professionals alike, (and seems to cover everything that it takes me 45 minutes to teach to nurses or doctors!). I discovered it via its co-creator, Delirium Champion Dr MS Krishnan.

This week, I am taking over Palliverse to share posts about delirium in palliative care – from conferences to clinical standards to a heart-wrenching personal story. Awareness of delirium is increasing in palliative care – the recent Australasian Delirium Association 2016 Conference featured a plenary presentation from Professor of Palliative Medicine Meera Agar, plus a workshop on supportive care of delirium at the end of life (led by Prof Agar, Prof Jane Phillips and Dr Annmarie Hosie). In addition, delirium is a theme September’s upcoming ANZSPM 2016 Conference, “The changing landscape of palliative care”, again featuring Prof Agar, along with Perth psychiatrist and palliative care specialist Lisa Miller.

What are your experiences with delirium? Do you have any burning questions about delirium in palliative care or elsewhere? Please comment below. I spent the last six months working as the Registrar in a Delirium Care Unit, and recently attended the Australasian Delirium Association Conference so I would love nothing better than to talk about delirium!

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3 thoughts on “Delirium: Why we should (palliative) care

  1. Hi, Recent experiences with Mom who broke hips and has experienced delirium. She broke the first hip and had it repaired with a spinal anesthesia and the second hip in rehab and had full anesthesia. She is 81 and was fine cognitively before, but lost our father one month before she broke the first hip. She had an undiagnosed infection (UTI and then pneumonia) during her stay in rehab. One frustration with the rehab/nursing home was that they did not treat the delirium or recognize it as delirium, but assumed b/c of age that she had memory/cognition issues prior to this. One question is any anesthesia prone to trigger delirium in a fragile/elderly person or is a spinal in anyway better? Another issue is when is it likely that the delirium becomes permanent? (I am assuming permanent now and we are working with that.)


  2. Pingback: Delirium in palliative care – 10 tips in 140 characters |

  3. Pingback: Raise awareness for World #Delirium Day 15 March 2017 |

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