The most successful approach to preventing delirium is to target risk factors that might trigger an episode. Hospital environments present a special challenge — frequent room changes, invasive procedures, loud noises, poor lighting and lack of natural light can worsen confusion.

Evidence indicates that these strategies help prevent or reduce the severity of delirium in hospitalized people:

  • Provide adequate fluids
  • Provide stimulating activities and familiar objects
  • Encourage the use of eyeglasses and hearing aids, if applicable
  • Use simple and regular communication about people, current place and time
  • Provide mobility and range-of-motion exercises
  • Reduce noise and avoid sleep interruptions
  • Provide appropriate pain management and offer nondrug treatment for sleep problems or anxiety
Aug. 15, 2012