What can families do?

It is important for you, as a family member, to help health care professionals recognize the signs and symptoms of delirium.

Because you are familiar with how your loved one normally appears,  you are able to recognize when their thinking or behavior changes abruptly. 

It is important that you discuss these concerns with the health care professional. By doing so, you provide valuable information about your loved one’s normal condition and abilities  that allows the doctor to recognize that the problem may be delirium.

What can you do for a family member with delirium?

  • Be calm and reassuring.
  • Speak slowly and clearly and use simple sentences about familiar, non-threatening topics.
  • Don’t argue with them or try to test their memory or thinking.
  • Don’t over stimulate them.
  • Allow periods of uninterrupted rest to reduce fatigue.
  • Encourage adequate fluid and nutritional intake.
  • Let hospital staff know if you notice any discomfort.
  • Increase activity when applicable (e.g., encourage them to be up and walking when it is safe to do so).
  • Keep track of changes in behaviour and inform the doctor or nurses.
  • Ensure hearing aids and glasses are in place.
  • Make sure they can get to the bathroom regularly.
  • Place a calendar and clock within view.