Supporting World Delirium Awareness Day

Supporting World Delirium Awareness DayThe Western Trust is supporting World Delirium Awareness Day (14 March 2018) by raising awareness of the disease, its symptoms and the support available to patients and their families across the Western Trust area.

Throughout World Delirium Awareness Day, the public are encouraged to visit information stands in Altnagelvin Hospital, South West Acute Hospital and Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex, where expert staff will be on hand to provide information and support about delirium.

Delirium is caused by a disturbance of brain function. It is used to describe a state of sudden confusion and changes in a person’s behaviour and alertness. Some conditions that can lead to a delirium include dementia, surgery – especially heart or hip surgery, an illness of the brain, depression, heart failure, an infection or sepsis, medications such as painkillers or sedatives, constipation and poor eyesight and/or hearing.

Florence Sharkey, Lead Nurse for Research and Development at the Western Trust explains: “Delirium is common and treatable. It can be very distressing and frightening. We encourage the public to come and meet expert staff from within the Trust and The Alzheimer Association. It is a great opportunity to obtain information on how to share your experience through the Western Trust, Public Health Agency (PHA) and Health and Social Care Board (HSCB), ‘10,000 More Voices’ initiative on Delirium”.

At risk patients include those who are over 65 with existing cognitive decline, who are acutely ill or with a fractured neck or femur. Signs or symptoms to look out for include, confusion, distractibility; rambling speech, changes in alertness, agitation (sometimes leading to aggression), behavioural changes, changes in personality (including paranoia) and hallucinations. If you or a family member is experiencing delirium it is important to keep calm, speak slowly and softly, and redirect thoughts to something none threatening for example music or photographs.