Despite routine screening, more than 60% of older adults with delirium are not diagnosed in hospitals, and problems also can arise in other settings.
A study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in April looked at existing questionnaires and other tools that relatives and friends could use on their own. The authors noted that those caregivers are generally able to identify delirium symptoms more easily than healthcare professionals because they are more familiar with the individual being evaluated.
“Having caregivers test a person for delirium also makes it easier for the caregiver to be alert for delirium throughout a person’s stay,” the American Geriatrics Society said in announcing the findings. “As a result, caregivers may be able to notify healthcare professionals of changes in mental status sooner, potentially leading to earlier and more frequent diagnoses for older people under their care.”