Delirium can be a feature of COVID-19. Delirium is a common and serious medical problem that is characterised by changes in mental and physical function.
Screen all patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, and repeat if there is a change or fluctuation in cognition, behaviour or function, using the following tools:
Delirium is often associated with an underlying illness or infection, including COVID-19. Other common causes of delirium, which should be managed and prevented, include:
Symptoms of delirium occur suddenly, fluctuate and involve changes to a person’s behaviour, cognition, consciousness and/or functional ability. The person may:
Implement the following care strategies:
Pharmacological treatment may be considered if a person remains distressed or is at risk to themselves or others. Refer to local policies for guidance.
Aged care / Aged health community of practice.
Consulted with medical, nursing and allied health clinicians with expertise managing delirium.
Dr Nigel Lyons, Deputy Secretary, Health System Strategy and Planning, NSW Ministry of Health.
Clinicians with delirium management in the COVID-19 pandemic.
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