I was reading the newspaper when I came upon an article in the Southtownstar.com by a Dr. Anthonly Komaroff. He was responding to a letter about hospital delirium, which I had never heard of. It says some patients, particularly older ones, can develop delirium. Delirium is a temporary condition brought on by the unfamiliar surroundings of a hospital, etc. It goes on to say that people with delirium have great trouble organizing their thoughts, their memory’s become poor, they may have hallucinations. It usually comes on suddenly and can change unpredictably. People with delirium can be anxious and restless. They can be a threat to themselvs, trying to wander around (if you have tubes in you you can rip them out, etc.) People who develop delirium are at higher risk in the future for developing permanent dementia, requiring institutionalization, and premature death. That’s true regardless of their age and how sick they are. It also says while they don’t know what triggers delirium, alcohol withdrawal, dehydration, various medications can all contribute. It also says just the unfamiliar setting can trigger this. They don’t have normal cues to go by. Lack of daylight or access to news of current events can increase disoriented feelings. Lastly, hospital procedures, schedules and noises can interfere with sleep, which can lead to confusion. It says if you have a loved one who develops this condition, do what you can to keep them oriented. Bring pictures of family, etc. Visit as often as possible. Finally, understand this is temporary. Once they get back to their home, they will likely return to normal and have no recollection of acting this way, so bring it up to them is pointless. They could not help it.

Advertisements