Botsford News Release
Farmington Hills, Mich. (July 27, 2010)---Recent reports suggest that more elderly patients are experiencing hallucinations or extreme confusion while hospitalized. These hallucinations, known as ‘hospital delirium’, were once dismissed as a “reversible transient phenomenon,” thinking it was ok for the elderly to become confused.
The American Geriatrics Society estimates that about one-third of patients over 70 and a greater percentage of intensive care or post surgical patients are affected by hospital delirium. Annette Carron, D.O., Botsford Hospital’s Geriatrics Program Director, says, “Many things can trigger hospital delirium including infections, surgery, pneumonia and procedures like catheter insertions. All of these can spur anxiety in frail and vulnerable patients.”
There are certain steps that can be taken to help patients who develop delirium. Dr. Carron says, “Keeping patients in the same room and not changing their environment can help. Patient’s family members can also make a difference by staying with their loved one as much as possible and redirecting their attention on other things. Delirium can cause people to lose focus, so activities and distractions can be beneficial.”
Noticing signs of delirium early and detecting high-risk patients is the best way to help patients. “We (at Botsford) routinely check for signs of delirium and identify high-risk patients, so we can be proactive in helping individuals before they develop serious problems,” says Dr. Carron.
“While it can be a frightening time for family members, it is helpful to remember that the condition may not represent a long term change,” Dr. Carron states.
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