​Preventing delirium among older people in our care

You probably know that delirium is common amongst older people in our care. You probably know that it's not only unpleasant, it can also have serious consequences. But did you know that 30-50% of delirium that occurs while people are in our care can be prevented?

We are often used to working in a curative model, the kind of health care that focuses on identifying and managing delirium once it has occurred. In the Think Delirium Prevention Project we want to encourage people to also think about delirium prevention, and to help people before they suffer delirium and its negative impact on their lives.

Our approach

An Appreciative Inquiry approach offered us a way to find out what is working well for staff, and then to explore how this could inform and inspire improvements in delirium prevention.

Using interviews and discussion groups, we encouraged staff to reflect on and share what was working well and then to build on this to identify changes themselves. In the THINKdelirium tips booklet and other resources we share some of the tips and possibilities they shared, in the hope that they may inspire you too.

THINKdelirium Resources

The THINKdelirium tips booklet (ref 236949) ​(PDF, 5.4MB)
The THINKdelirium poster (ref 236939)(​PDF, 1.8MB)
The THINKdelirium poster (ref 236939)​(JPG, 1.9MB)
Delirium prevention brochure for families (ref 236937)​(PDF, 600Kb)


Documentation Resources

Knowing the person - The Sunflower Chart (ref 236963)​(PDF, 100Kb)
​​Abbey Pain Scale ​(PDF, 100Kb)
​​Constipation Bowel Chart (ref C280030) ​(PDF, 200Kb)
Nutrition and Hydration Food and Fluid Balance Chart (ref C280046) (PDF, 150Kb)​


For more information

Susan Gee, Psychiatry of Old Age Academic Unit
Older Persons Mental Health (OPMH), Canterbury District Health Board
Burwood Hospital , Christchurch, New Zealand.


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Page last reviewed: 29 August 2016