Delirium (sometimes referred to as 'acute confusional state') is a common clinical syndrome characterised by altered consciousness, disturbed cognitive ability, altered perception and disturbed functioning. It has an acute onset and fluctuating course, typically symptoms will develop over a few days. Older people, people with dementia and people undergoing hip surgery are identified as being groups that are at higher risk of developing delirium. Delirium is a serious condition and is often associated with poor outcomes including increased mortality and length of hospital stay, and can be extremely distressing for patients and their carers; however it can be prevented, detected, and managed well. This policy has been developed to support staff at Ashford and St Peter’s with regards to the prevention, diagnosis and management of delirium.



The purpose of this policy is to set out the guidelines for identifying, diagnosing and promptly treating delirium in people aged 18 and over in hospital.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: ASPH Dementia Lead
Ratified by: Drugs and Therapeutics Committee
Date Ratified: July 2020
Date Issued: August 2020
Review Date: July 2022
Target Audience: All staff involved in the care of patients with delirium, their families and carers
Contact name: ASPH Dementia Lead


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