Preventative and Nursing Measures

Some strategies that are simple to implement in the ED include:

  • Appropriate lighting levels for time of day
  • Regular and repeated cues to improve personal orientation
  • Use of clocks to improve orientation
  • Hearing aids and spectacles in good working order
  • Communication with relatives as to the cause and treatment measures for delirium
  • Encourage family to visit (may help calm patient) and to bring in familiar objects from home

What medical treatment considerations would be considered to minimise confusion?

  • Regular analgesia if in pain
  • Optimise fluid balance to prevent dehydration
  • Elimination of unexpected and irritating noise or other unfamiliar distractions (e.g. pump alarms)
  • Give fluids/medications orally, if possible


  • Use of physical restraint
  • Constipation
  • Catheters, where possible
  • Anticholinergic drugs
  • Unnecessary inter/intra ward transfers