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New video spotlights delirium dangers

Tuesday, 16 March, 2021
New video spotlights delirium dangers

Staff from Northumbria Healthcare have created a new video to explain the dangers of a common, but often misunderstood medical condition which has been even more prevalent during the pandemic.

Although Delirium is fairly common most people are totally unaware of the condition, so the team a Northumbria Healthcare have created a new video to help raise awareness.


World delirium awareness day takes place this week (17th March) and the new video has been posted on YouTube to support patients and families across Northumberland.


Delirium can affect men or women of any age but is more common among older people or those with dementia.

It can be extremely frightening for patients and families because it involves a decreased ability to concentrate, sleepiness, agitation, and sometimes even hallucinations or altered beliefs.


International figures show that 1 in 4 older hospital patients will get delirium and it is hoped the new video will offer some much-needed advice and information for local people.


Although delirium has some of the similar symptoms to dementia it isn’t the same thing. Delirium comes on quickly and usually resolves over days, whereas dementia develops slowly over many months and mostly cannot be reversed.


If you’re concerned that a family member may have delirium you should seek medical help promptly because it can be a sign of acute, serious illness and the new video offers some valuable advice.


It is designed to help the public spot the signs of delirium, understand more about the condition and get some helpful advice on what they should do at a time when older people especially may be nervous about attending medical appointments.


Dr Sarah Hepburn, a Consultant in Old Age Liaison Psychiatry at Northumbria Healthcare said: “While delirium is relatively common in hospitals, especially among older people, the symptoms can be really pronounced so it’s important that people can understand more about the condition.


“Things like confusion and hallucinations are all part of this and can be extremely frightening for patients and their carers or loved ones, especially when visiting is restricted because of Covid19.


“Many people confuse delirium with dementia and start to worry that their relative may never return to normal, but this is a different condition that comes on quickly and usually resolves over several days.


“I really hope the video helps people understand a bit more about the condition and reduces some of the fear and anxiety it can cause among families.”


Judy Mattison, Lead Matron for Dementia and Delirium at Northumbria Healthcare said: “Delirium is one of the most common conditions we encounter in hospital. Delirium can be really frightening and unsettling not just for patients but also for families who may not understand what is happening to their relative.


Click here to see the video:

Ross Wigham – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

0191 203 1465