Delirium Reduction

Delirium is a syndrome characterized by confused thinking and disorientation that develops quickly and fluctuates. It is a common reason people are brought to the hospital, and it can also develop after hospital admission. (E.g. All units of Parnassus Hospital have adopted screening for delirium on each shift.) 



Due to the prevention and recognition of delirium, UCSF has reduced the number of delirium days for patients hospitalized with delirium by 27%.

UCSF has implemented a multi-disciplinary approach to delirium prevention and management.
Visit the Delirium website for more information: click here


Ensure our patients are wearing their glasses and hearing aids during the day. When they can't hear or see well, they can easily become confused and disoriented.  



Help our patients stay awake and active during the day. Maintaining a good sleep pattern–awake during the day, asleep at night–is important for healing. Our volunteers can help them read, play games, put together puzzles, and engage in floor-based activities.  


Encourage family to bring familiar items from home. Pictures of family, pets, memorable vacations or a cozy blanket can help keep patients connected.


Help patients stay awake during the day. Maintaining a good sleep pattern–awake during the day, asleep at night–is important for healing. Nighttime sleep improves immune function, enables memory processing, and allows the brain to recharge.


Ensure water is within easy reach. If patients are not on a special dietary order restricting liquids, they should stay well hydrated. 


Stop medications that are known to cause delirium. Hospital pharmacists review the medication list of all patients with high delirium risk to ensure they are not taking medications associated with delirium risk.