Canadian Alliance on mental Illness and Mental Health Alliance Canadienne pour la Maladie Mentale et la Sante Mentale

National Guidelines for Seniors' Mental Health: The Assessment and Treatment of Delirium

Background of Issue:

Delirium is a common and serious condition encountered in older persons. This guideline deals primarily with its prevention and acute management, but it is important to note that delirium has long-term consequences. Compared to similarly aged individuals, older hospitalized persons who are delirious have a worse prognosis. They have prolonged lengths of hospital stay, worse functional outcomes, higher institutionalization rates, increased risk for cognitive decline and higher mortality rates (Leentjens & van der Mast, 2005; Rockwood, 2001). In many cases, delirium is not recognized or is misdiagnosed as another condition such as dementia or depression. The occurrence of delirium is not inevitable.

You can download a copy of the Assessment and Treatment of Delirium Guideline at no charge.

Learn more about how the Assessment and Treatment of Delirium guideline is being implemented throughout Canada in a variety of innovative pilot projects.

The Delirium Guideline Development Group included the following members:

Dr. David Hogan Co-chair Geriatrician
Dr. Laura Gage Co-chair Psychiatry
Dr. Venera Bruto Group Member Neuropsychology
Deborah Burne Group Member Nursing
Dr. Peter Chan Group Member Psychiatry
Dr. Cheryl Sadowski Group Member Pharmacy
Dr. Martin Cole Consultant Psychiatry
Dr. Susan Freter Consultant Geriatrician
Mary McDiarmid Consultant Library Services
Dr. Jane McKusker Consultant Epidemiology
Simone Powell Consultant Policy Analyst
Esther Roberts Consultant Caregiver
Dr. Ken Rockwood Consultant Geriatric Med