RCN Older People's Forum Vicki Leah 14 Mar 2018
World Delirium Awareness Day provides us all with the opportunity to highlight that delirium is a medical emergency, but you can make a difference.
Today is World Delirium Awareness Day, an international effort to raise awareness of delirium among patients, carers, healthcare professionals, administrators and policy-makers.
It's a great opportunity to highlight the RCN’s Older Peoples’ Forum Delirium Champions programme, supported by My Improvement Network. This is aimed at nursing staff in the community to help raise awareness amongst colleagues. As a Delirium Champion you will deliver awareness sessions to your team and create an escalation plan.
Staff who attend to people in their own homes, care home and day centres are best placed to recognise when a person is 'a bit muddled' or 'not themselves' - and this may be the first sign of delirium. Recognising these early signs can have a dramatic impact on future care potentially preventing falls, hospital admission or in some cases death.
Delirium is caused by changes in the person’s state of arousal due to a change in their medical condition. If we are to see a reduction in the severity of the delirium and adverse outcomes such as further physical and cognitive decline, falls, dehydration and malnutrition, delirium needs to be recognised early. Giving staff the tools and knowledge to do this and escalate concerns to someone who can complete an assessment can lead to higher levels of cases being identified and treated.
It is here we need the help of community colleagues. Over 900 nurses have already signed up and used our resources to help them which include a short film, poster, leaflet and a 'Don’t Discount Delirium' badge.
I would encourage you to join them and become a Delirium Champion today. https://www.rcn.org.uk/clinical-topics/older-people/delirium/delirium-champion