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How can I help a person who has become delirious?

Audrey K. Chun, MD
Geriatric Medicine
If you are visiting a patient who becomes delirious, notify someone on the medical team immediately and make it clear that this is not the person's regular mental status. Stay with the patient and provide reassurance and reorientation; tell him or her the date, where the patient is and why, and who the people are that come to visit. Make sure the patient is eating and drinking fluids. If the person is in pain, report it. If a patient is agitated, music, massage or reading aloud may have a calming effect. If the patient cannot be calmed, sedating medications may be used judiciously. Keep in mind that a patient with delirium is disoriented, and support from familiar faces can help lessen fear and confusion.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.