Health Information and Tools > Health A-Z >  Delirium: Information for Patients and Families
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Senior’s Health

How can I help the person with delirium?

  • ​​​​Speak clearly and use fewer words. Allow time to respond.
  • Don’t argue with or correct them.
  • Comfort them. They may be confused and frightened, so tell them you’re there to help and to keep them safe.
  • Make sure they’re wearing their aids (like their glasses, hearing aids, or dentures)
  • Keep the area around them calm and soothing.
  • Use a clock to help them remember the time and a calendar or whiteboard to help them remember the date.
  • Play their favourite music, as long as it’s quiet and light.
  • Leave the radio or TV off, as the added voices and images may add to the confusion.

In the Hospital or Care Home

  • Visit often, but keep the visits short. In the early days of a delirium, someone may be asked to stay with the person as much as possible. Take turns so no one gets too tired.
  • Visit at mealtimes so you can help make sure they eat and drink enough. Check with the nursing staff if you want to bring in food.
  • Bring in items the person knows and may find comforting.
  • Bring in a book for family and friends to sign whenever they visit, including the date and time they visited. This may help the person remember their visitors.

At Home

  • Offer light and nourishing meals. Make sure they drink enough fluids to keep their urine pale.
  • Help them move around or get some light exercise.
  • Make sure someone is with them at all times.
  • Remove anything that could be a safety risk.
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Current as of: December 19, 2016

Author: Senior’s Health Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services