Delirium May Be as Deadly as a Heart Attack
Delirium is a symptom that almost everyone has experienced whether first hand or through a relative or friend. Seeing the person experiencing delirium become confused can be heartbreaking. Medical Xpress interviewed people who have experienced delirium of a family member. “To say our dad became unrecognisable is a gross understatement. Emergency hip surgery gave way to a delirium that enveloped our father in agony, the likes of which we never knew could exist in the world of medicine,” says the daughter of Mr B (Medical Express, 2017). “We stood at his bedside and watched helplessly as he moved from surgical anesthesia onto pain medication and then into a hyper-agitated delirium that nearly killed him. For more than a week, he was unable to rest, sleep, be soothed, reasoned with or communicated with – all while we were given no explanation or diagnosis of what was happening to him.”
Medical Xpress also reported that a quarter of hospitalized elderly people experience delirium, and it has as high of a death rate as heart attacks. According to the article, it is best to prevent delirium from ever occurring. The best way to prevent an episode is by taking care of the person’s needs. Family members and caretakers should help the unwell people get out of bed, get a good night’s sleep, eat and drink, and use their glasses and hearing aids. It is also important to detect delirium early so that any medications causing it can be addressed early on. However, there is still a lot to be done in the journey to improving care for this serious condition.