Delirium and COVID-19

Delirium is a serious condition characterised by an acute change in mental state. Delirium develops quickly and symptoms can fluctuate throughout the day. A person with delirium may experience disturbances in consciousness, attention, perception and cognition.

COVID-19 was initially thought to be predominantly a respiratory disease. However, evidence is now emerging that particularly in older adults, COVID-19 may present with atypical symptoms including delirium.

Prevention is the most effective strategy, but outcomes for patients with delirium can also be improved by early detection and intervention. At Monash Health there is a number of resources that can assist in caring for patients with cognitive impairment including:

  • Delirium and COVID-19 “The Quick Fact Sheet”
  • Sunflower Tool
  • Delirium in Hospital Guideline (Prompt)
  • Acute Behavioural Disturbance Guideline (Prompt)
  • Hospital Care for Adult Patients with COVID-19 (Prompt)
  • Delirium in Hospital Patient information (Prompt)

More information, including downloadable resources, is available here.



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