Confusion in the elderly patient is usually a symptom of delirium or dementia, but it may also occur in major depression and psychoses. Until another cause is identified, the confused patient should be assumed to have delirium, which is often reversible with treatment of the underlying disorder.
Alcohol or drug intoxication or withdrawal. A medical condition, such as a stroke, heart attack, worsening lung or liver disease, or an injury from a fall. Metabolic imbalances, such as low sodium or low calcium. Severe, chronic or terminal illness .
How families can help avoid or limit hospital delirium Consult with a geriatric specialist. Bring a full medication list to any new health professional. Make things familiar. Stay close. Insist on sensory aids. Promote activity. Be there for meals. Participate in discharge planning.
Confusion may be caused by different health problems, such as: Alcohol or drug intoxication. Brain tumor. Head trauma or head injury (concussion) Fever. Fluid and electrolyte imbalance. Illness in an older person, such as loss of brain function ( dementia )
Sundowning is a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It’s also known as “late-day confusion .” If someone you care for has dementia, their confusion and agitation may get worse in the late afternoon and evening . In comparison, their symptoms may be less pronounced earlier in the day.
10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Difficulty completing familiar tasks. Confusion with time or place. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. New problems with words in speaking or writing.
Usually, delirium gets better. In 6 out of 10 (60%) people, the symptoms disappear within six days. Others may continue to experience some symptoms for longer. About 1 in 20 (5%) people may still suffer from delirium more than a month after they first had symptoms.
Delirium can last for a few days, weeks or even months but it may take longer for people with dementia to recover. In hospitals, approximately 20-30% of older people on medical wards will have delirium and up to 50% of people with dementia . Between 10-50% of people having surgery can develop delirium.
In the long term, delirium can cause permanent damage to cognitive ability and is associated with an increase in long-term care admissions. It also leads to complications, such as pneumonia or blood clots that weaken patients and increase the chances that they will die within a year.
Confusion or decreased alertness may be the first symptom of a serious illness, particularly in older adults. Health problems that can cause confusion or decreased alertness include: Infections , such as a urinary tract infection , respiratory infection , or sepsis. Alzheimer’s disease.
UTIs can cause a significant and distressing change in someone’s behaviour that is commonly referred to as ‘ acute confusional state ‘ or ‘ delirium ‘. Delirium is a change in someone’s mental state and usually develops over one or two days .
Treatment for delirium depends on the cause. Treatments may include: Antibiotics for infections. Fluids and electrolytes for dehydration. Antipsychotic drugs include: Haloperidol (Haldol®). Risperidone (Risperdal®). Olanzapine (Zyprexa®). Quetiapine (Seroquel®).
Stress, anxiety or depression can cause forgetfulness , confusion , difficulty concentrating and other problems that disrupt daily activities. Alcoholism. Chronic alcoholism can seriously impair mental abilities. Alcohol can also cause memory loss by interacting with medications.
Here is what you can do to overcome your confusion and find the joy: Accept where you are. Accept the fog, accept the confusion and accept the feelings of “stuckness.” Sometimes you get stuck because you are meant to be stuck. Take a deep breath. Focus on what you know. Be patient.
Sometimes a stroke happens gradually, but you’re likely to have one or more sudden symptoms like these: Numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side. Confusion or trouble understanding other people. Difficulty speaking.