To mark Delirium Awareness Week, which starts on Monday, March 17, NHS Tayside is to hold a number of information events.
The awareness week is aiming to raise the profile of delirium, which causes symptoms such as confusion, agitation, drowsiness and abnormal thoughts.
Information stands will be at Stracathro Hospital and Whitehills Community Care Centre in Forfar at lunchtimes during the awareness week, offering advice and further information about delirium.
Stracathro Hospital will also hold a series of lunchtime talks, aimed primarily but not exclusively at health care staff. The talks will be covering topics such as identifying people at risk of delirium, preventing and diagnosing delirium and practical tips for helping those with delirium.
Matt Lambert, clinical lecturer and speciality registrar in medicine for the elderly and stroke with NHS Tayside, said: “Delirium is common in the community and occurs in 25-60 per cent of older people in hospital, especially those with dementia. It is often not recognised or treated appropriately due to a widespread lack of appreciation of the causes and importance of delirium.
“We hope that the events going on throughout the week will improve how patients are treated and raise awareness amongst those who may have contact with people with delirium from medical staff to carers, relatives and the general public.”
Delirium is a sudden change in brain function which can make someone appear confused, agitated or drowsy/sleepy.
It is usually caused by a combination of triggers including infection, changes in medication, constipation, other medical illnesses, admission to hospital or moving to unfamiliar places. Only a small change is needed to trigger delirium.
Recognising delirium quickly allows identification and management of all the triggers and can help prevent people with delirium from coming to more harm or distress. Although delirium is usually reversible, some people with delirium will have undiagnosed dementia or go on to develop dementia in the future. Following up with patients who have been treated for delirium will help doctors to recognise dementia and provide appropriate treatment and support.
The awareness week will be launched in Ninewells Hospital by Fiona McKenzie from the Scottish Government’s Effective healthcare, education and workforce team.