Delirium – Older Adults and Care Partners

Clinical Guidelines

Discover the guidelines on delirium in older adults.

For Health Care Professionals

Find clinical tools and resources to support your patients or clients.

Sometimes, delirium is misdiagnosed as dementia or depression and can often be prevented or treated.

Delirium, a common and serious condition encountered in older adults, is a sudden and severe disturbance in thinking. It can cause changes in a person’s ability to stay alert, remember, be oriented to time or place, and speak or reason clearly. Sometimes, delirium is misdiagnosed as dementia or depression. It can often be prevented or treated.

There is no single treatment for delirium. Most often, the health care team will work with the patient and their family to learn about and then fix what caused the delirium. The delirium will often improve once the cause of it is found. For example, if an infection caused the delirium, the infection will be treated. If a medicine caused the delirium, it might be stopped, taken at a lower dose or a new medicine may be tried.

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