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Delirium in ICU Patients

How is ICU delirium treated?

​​​​​​​​​​If your loved is diagnosed with ICU delirium, the next step is to try to find out what may have caused it. Sometimes we don’t know what has caused the delirium. There are some strategies your ICU team may look at to help your loved one’s symptoms. They may:

  • treat any medical causes for the delirium, such as an infection or withdrawal
  • review the medicines your loved one is taking. It is possible that some of these medicines may be causing the delirium
  • make sure pain is assessed and treated. Pain may be treated with medicines or non-medicine therapy such as massage or relaxation techniques
  • assist your loved one with daily breathing exercises (if the patient is on a breathing machine)
  • provide your loved one with a special physiotherapist – they are healthcare providers who are trained to move ICU patients. They will assess your loved one’s ability to move safely (by sitting at the beds or in a chair, for example). This kind of movement will improve their breathing and muscle strength
  • try to encourage a regular sleep routine to help reduce day/night confusion
  • involve patient families in daily care and encourage involvement in all the activities listed above

Current as of: June 22, 2020

Author: Critical Care SCN