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ICU Delirium Outcomes

Support and prevention

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​My loved one had delirium in ICU. What can I do to care for myself and my family while they recover?

Being a family member or friend of someone who has been in intensive care can be stressful. You want to keep your loved one safe and make sure they have a full recovery.

The changes that happen in the brain​ with delirium can be hard to understand. They can make your loved one appear or act differently. Patients who have delirium after being in the ICU often say their loved ones don’t understand what is happening to them. This can make the recovery even more stressful.

Research shows that family members are also affected when a loved one has delirium in the ICU. When you are at the hospital, you also can ask to talk to a social worker or care provider that helps families (called a family liaison). These health professionals can offer support and give you information about resources in your community. Remember that it’s important for you to take care of yourself as well.

Review​ tips for caregivers to help you learn how to care for yourself while you care for others.

How can ICU delirium be prevented?

ICUs in Alberta do their best to prevent ICU delirium. They also watch for signs of ICU delirium while patients are in the hospital. This helps prevent problems that can develop in the hospital and after patients go home.

Hospitals across the world are trying to prevent ICU delirium by using ABCDEF bundle best practices that include:

  • getting patients up and moving around earlier
  • using the safest medications to treat pain and avoiding medications that can cause delirium
  • checking for and diagnosing delirium early

Find out more about ABCDE for caregivers​.

​For More Information

  • Health Link – Health Advice 24/7: 811

Current as of: March 25, 2021

Author: Critical Care SCN, Alberta Health Services