Information and resources on delirium

Delirium is a disturbance of attention or awareness accompanied by a change in baseline cognition not caused by a pre-existing or evolving neurocognitive disorder.

A patient with delirium has a reduced ability to direct, focus, sustain, and shift attention.

Approximately 40% of people in hospital will develop delirium.

Most at risk are older people - especially those with dementia; and those who are acutely unwell and receiving intensive medical treatment.

People who develop delirium will:

  • Need to stay longer in hospital
  • Have more hospital acquired complications such as falls, infections and pressure injuries
  • Be at risk of not returning to their pre-delirium level of function
  • Be more likely to be admitted to long term care
  • Be more likely to die

Click on the links below to access information and resources related to delirium.

Delirium: A Carer's Handbook

Midland DHBs Delirium Pathway

Midlands DHBs Delirium Care Guide

Confusion Assessment Method