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HealthInfo Canterbury


Delirium is a temporary state of confusion. It makes it difficult for you to pay attention and focus your thoughts.

If someone has delirium they may be:

Causes can vary greatly, but some can be serious and need urgent medical treatment.




If you think a family member or friend could have a delirium, have them assessed by a doctor as soon as possible.

Delirium in later life

People any age can get a delirium, but it's especially common in older people.

If you're an older person, your chance of developing a delirium increases if you become ill and go into hospital.

Delirium usually clears in a few days or weeks, but it can slow the healing and recovery process.

How can you reduce the chance of delirium?

Simple strategies reduce the chance of delirium developing while in hospital.

Find out how you can help a family member or friend reduce their risk of developing delirium in hospital.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by consultant psychiatrist, Older Persons Health and Rehabilitation (OPH&R), Canterbury DHB. Page created August 2016.


Page reference: 275674

Review key: HIDEL-275674