Recognising and managing delirium in patients receiving palliative and end of life care
evidence and practice    

Recognising and managing delirium in patients receiving palliative and end of life care

Janice Logan Lecturer in palliative care, St. Columba’s Hospice, Edinburgh, Scotland

Why you should read this article:
  • » To improve your awareness of the causes of delirium in patients receiving palliative and end of life care

  • » To enable you to support patients experiencing delirium, and their family members

  • » To understand the responsibilities of nurses in identifying the effects of delirium on the patient’s physical and psychological well-being

Delirium is the most common neuropsychiatric disorder in patients with palliative and end of life care needs; therefore, providing effective care for patients, and their families, is a clinical priority for nurses. Delirium is characterised by a fluctuating state that affects an individual’s attention, orientation, thinking, perception, memory, psychomotor behaviour, emotions and sleep-wake cycle. Early recognition, assessment and management of delirium is essential, because this has the potential to relieve distress and improve the quality of life and death for patients. This article discusses the causes, effects, and signs and symptoms of delirium. It also outlines the non-pharmacological and pharmacological strategies that can be used to assess and manage patients with delirium at the end of life, alongside the support that should be provided to their families.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2018.e10888

Citation

Logan J (2018) Recognising and managing delirium in patients receiving palliative and end of life care. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2018.e10888

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@@janicelogan56

Correspondence

jlogan@stcolumbashospice.org.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Published online: 26 September 2018

You need a subscription to read the full article