Protect Your Parent From Delirium


Help a hospitalized loved one avoid delirium by following the HELP (Hospital Elder Life Program) suggestions. Delirium is an acute and fluctuating disorder of attention and cognition which appears can manifest itself differently in different people.  Factors that contribute to delirium in elderly patients are dehydration, immobility, sleep deprivation, hearing impairment or vision impairment and cognitive impairment. The HELP program is offered in over 200 hospitals in the United States but families can help their hospitalized relation by following the HELP guidelines.  For more information, follow our link to the article.

How You Can Protect Your Parent From Delirium

By Denise Logeland | NextAvenue.Org

Paula Duncan looks for delirium, a serious problem that often goes undetected in older hospital patients. So Duncan, a registered nurse at Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minn., has learned to look beneath the surface, including in patients’ dreams.

People who’ve experienced delirium often have horrific and haunting dreams, she says. It’s not always something they’ll readily talk about. She asks them how they’re sleeping and if they’re dreaming, and watches their faces for clues. “Sometimes you can see by the look on their face that they’re having this experience, but they don’t want to tell you because it’s so awful,” Duncan said.

Duncan leads the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) at Methodist Hospital. HELP is a set of simple assessment, monitoring and prevention measures proven to reduce the incidence of delirium. Unlike dementia, which is constant and gets progressively worse, delirium tends to come and go, fluctuating even in the course of a day. The symptoms are transitory, yet for people who develop delirium, it can be the start of a permanent decline in health and independence.

HELP is available at more than 200 hospitals across the U.S. and in 11 other countries; much of the program is carried out by trained volunteers. The non-medical nature of the prevention means that where HELP is not offered, families can take these preventive steps on their own. [read entire article]

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