If you're the relative or primary caregiver of a person with delirium, you'll likely play a role in making an appointment or providing information to the health care provider. Here's some information to help you get ready for the appointment, and what to expect from the doctor.
What you can do
Before the appointment, make a list of:
- All medications, including all prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and supplements the person takes, and the doses — noting any recent medication changes
- Names and contact information of any health care providers, therapists or other clinicians who provide care for the person
- When the symptoms started, describing all symptoms and minor changes in behaviors that preceded the delirium symptoms
- Questions to ask the doctor
What to expect from the doctor
The doctor is likely to ask a number of questions. Be ready to answer them to save time to go over topics you want to focus on.
Questions about the person may include:
Sept. 05, 2015
- What are the symptoms and when did they begin?
- Is there a diagnosis of dementia?
- Is there or was there a recent fever, cough or urinary tract infection?
- Was there a recent head injury or other trauma?
- What were the person's memory and other thinking skills like before the symptoms started?
- How well did the person perform everyday activities before the onset of symptoms?
- Can he or she usually function independently?
- What other medical conditions have been diagnosed?
- Are prescription medications taken as directed? When was the most recent dose?
- Are there any new medications?
- Do you know if the person recently used drugs or alcohol? Does the person have a history of alcohol or drug abuse? Is there any change in the pattern of use, such as increasing or stopping use?
- Has the person recently appeared depressed, extremely sad or withdrawn?
- Has the person indicated that he or she does not feel safe?
- Are there any signs of paranoia?
- Has the person seen or heard things that no one else does?
- Are there any new physical symptoms?
- Delirium. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Sept. 2, 2015.
- Delirium. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/delirium-and-dementia/delirium. Accessed June 24, 2015.
- Francis J, et al. Diagnosis of delirium and confusional states. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 25, 2015.
- Francis J. Delirium and acute confusional states: Prevention, treatment, and prognosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 25, 2015.
- So far away: Twenty questions and answers about long-distance caregiving. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/so-far-away-twenty-questions-and-answers-about-long-distance-caregiving/support. Accessed June 24, 2015.
- Hshieh TT, et al. Effectiveness of multicomponent nonpharmacological delirium interventions: A meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2015;175:512.
- Takahashi PY (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 7, 2015.
- Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 9, 2015.