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Senior’s Health

How do you recognize delirium?

​​​​Staff members regularly look for signs of delirium. However, you may be the first to notice the person is different than usual.

The questions below may help you recognize delirium. If you check off more than 1 question, please tell the nurse, doctor, or other healthcare provider.

  • Is there a sudden change in their ability to do things?
  • Do they have more trouble paying attention to what’s going on around them?
  • Has their behaviour changed in the past few days?
  • Does their speech ramble or do they jump from topic to topic? Are their words garbled and hard to understand?
  • Do they have more trouble understanding what you say?
  • ​​​​​​Are they more forgetful than usual?
  • Do they have more trouble recognizing people they know?
  • Are they more confused about where they are or what time it is?
  • Are they more worried, angry, troubled, or sad than usual?
  • Does their mood change suddenly?
  • Have they started to see or hear things that aren’t there?
  • Are they more restless or quiet than usual?
  • Do they fall asleep during your visits or are they harder to wake up?

Current as of: November 21, 2018

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