• 4/13/2023
    Doha 12 April 2023: Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Department of Geriatrics and Long-Term Care continues to lead efforts to educate healthcare staff, patients, carers, and family members about the signs of delirium to enable prompt medical assessment and treatment to be administered and perhaps reduce associated morbidity and mortality.

    Delirium is a state of confusion that often occurs in older adults or individuals with underlying medical conditions, and it can cause a range of symptoms, including disorientation, hallucinations, and agitation, which can be fatal in severe cases. Research indicates that delirium affects approximately 25% of Medical Inpatients, 50% of Surgery Patients, and 75% of Intensive Care Patients.

    Dr. Abdulla Al-Ansari, Chief Medical Officer at HMC who toured the educational display in HGH welcomed the efforts of Dr. Hanadi Al-Hamad and her team to provide education to patients and visitors: “This is a very important issue for our clinical staff. Early recognition and treatment require close patient monitoring, and education is key to ensure all our staff are alert to the possibility of delirium in vulnerable patients. The work of Dr. Hanadi and her team will help our clinicians to ensure they are providing the best of care to patients at risk of delirium.”

    Ms. Mariam Al-Mutawa, Acting Chief Nursing Officer at HMC said that nursing staff plays a significant role in preventing and managing delirium: “Delirium is a sign that the patient is not well and needs investigation and appropriate treatment. To reduce the impact of delirium, early detection is essential, and as delirium is often first detected by nurses, they are integral to providing nonpharmacological and environmental interventions, such as cognitive assessment, providing orientation for the patient to recognize their environment, and giving them comfort to help aid sleep. With support from Dr. Hanadi and her team, our frontline nurses are receiving important training not only about delirium but also other conditions more common among older patients.”

    Dr. Hanadi Al-Hamad, who is the chairperson of the Department of Geriatrics and Long-Term Care and Medical Director at Rumailah Hospital and Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, explained that delirium is a serious medical condition that affects millions of people worldwide. “There are several things that individuals and healthcare professionals can do to reduce the risk of delirium, including managing underlying medical conditions, avoiding certain medications, staying hydrated, and ensuring a patient's environment is quiet and comfortable. If delirium does occur, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly, as early treatment can improve outcomes.”

    Delirium and dementia are two distinct medical conditions that can affect cognitive function, but they have different causes, symptoms, and treatment approaches. While delirium is often reversible with appropriate treatment, dementia is usually irreversible and requires long-term management and support. Treatment for dementia focuses on managing symptoms, improving quality of life, and providing support for caregivers and family members. 

    “It is important to distinguish between delirium and dementia because their treatment approaches are different. That is why our multidisciplinary team regularly conducts education and awareness programs.  We urge anyone who is seeing someone they care for experience confusion or cognitive changes to seek medical attention to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. Our motto is that Delirium is everyone’s business and that is why we promote awareness to all,” added Dr. Al-Hamad.

    While delirium is more common in older adults, especially those over 65, it can happen to anyone, including children, teenagers, and young adults; in each case, prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential to improve the impact of serious conditions on the health of the patient.

    To learn more about delirium, visit the healthy ageing website: www.hamad.qa/healthyageing