Relief on the way for delirium patients

May 27, 2011, Pennsylvania State University

Adults with dementia and delirium may soon have a way to combat their delirium, thanks to a $2.4 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health.

" is prevalent in people with dementia," said Ann Kolanowski, Elouise Ross Eberly Professor of Nursing, Penn State. "We found in our that many older adults who have dementia and experience a medical problem often develop delirium, and it doesn't necessarily resolve by the time they are discharged from the hospital."

Delirium, defined as a state of mental confusion, occurs in over half of all hospitalized with dementia. If delirium continues, it can interfere with patient rehabilitation and there is a very high risk of permanent institutionalization, said Kolanowski.

The grant, from NIH's National Institute of Nursing Research, was awarded to Kolanowski and colleague Donna Fink, professor of nursing, Penn State. The researchers will test an intervention consisting of cognitive activities to help patients with delirium superimposed on dementia.

"Cognitive processing helps restore ," said Kolanowski. "In delirium, improved cognitive function is accompanied by improvement in physical function and resolution of delirium."

The intervention Kolanowski and colleagues propose is called Recreational Stimulation for Elders as a Vehicle to Resolve Delirium Superimposed on Dementia. It is a drug-free intervention that focuses on simple, but intellectually stimulating, recreational tasks. Each task focuses on different cognitive domains, which include memory, attention, orientation, abstract thinking and executive functioning.

"One of the more popular activities is 'finish the phrase,'" said Kolanowski, explaining a memory exercise. "So we might say something like, 'every Tom, Dick and …' and let them finish with 'Harry.' Or 'a bird in the hand is worth …' and they'd say 'two in a bush.'"

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Don't hold your nose and close your mouth when you sneeze, doctors warn

January 15, 2018
Pinching your nose while clamping your mouth shut to contain a forceful sneeze isn't a good idea, warn doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

Surfers three times more likely to have antibiotic-resistant bacteria in guts

January 14, 2018
Regular surfers and bodyboarders are three times more likely to have antibiotic resistant E. coli in their guts than non-surfers, new research has revealed.

New antifungal provides hope in fight against superbugs

January 12, 2018
Microscopic yeast have been wreaking havoc in hospitals around the world—creeping into catheters, ventilator tubes, and IV lines—and causing deadly invasive infection. One culprit species, Candida auris, is resistant ...

Dengue takes low and slow approach to replication

January 11, 2018
A new study reveals how dengue virus manages to reproduce itself in an infected person without triggering the body's normal defenses. Duke researchers report that dengue pulls off this hoax by co-opting a specialized structure ...

Different strains of same bacteria trigger widely varying immune responses

January 11, 2018
Genetic differences between different strains of the same pathogenic bacterial species appear to result in widely varying immune system responses, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

Human protein may aid neuron invasion by virus that causes hand, foot, and mouth disease

January 11, 2018
A human protein known as prohibitin may play a significant role in infection of the nervous system by EV71, one of several viruses that can cause hand, foot, and mouth disease. Issac Too of the National University of Singapore ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.