A detailed history is often difficult to obtain in delirious patients. Effort should always be made to obtain information from:

  • Carers
  • General practitioners
  • Others close to the patient

In addition to standard questions, useful points to remember, and document, are:

  • Onset and course of delirium
  • Previous intellectual function, e.g. ability to manage household affairs, pay bills, compliance with medication, use of telephone and transport
  • Full drug history, including non-prescribed drugs and recent drug cessation
  • Alcohol history
  • Functional status activities of daily living (ADL)
  • Aids used (hearing/glasses etc.)

Learning Bite

Many patients with delirium are unable to provide an accurate history. Wherever possible, corroboration should be sought from the carer, general practitioner or any source with good knowledge of them.