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Home > News > Cumbria leads the way in prevention and management of Delirium

Cumbria leads the way in prevention and management of Delirium

Posted on Friday 12th January 2018
Cumbria leads the way in prevention and management of Delirium

An innovative new service is helping patients in Cumbria at risk of becoming confused during their stay in hospital.

Delirium is mental confusion, which can sometimes occur when people are unwell. It can be caused by a number of things, including infections, dehydration and pain, but with the right support it can be managed or even avoided. The Memory and Later Life services at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust are launching ‘Reach-Out’ (Reduce, Educate, Assess & Care with Hope) to do just that. This service is the first of its kind in the UK and has been co-produced by mental health specialists and clinicians from across the North Cumbria Health and Care System with input from patients and their carers.

David Storm, Senior Clinical Service Manager, explains “The service will work seven days per week and will proactively check on hospital patient information systems for anyone admitted to hospital who is at risk of developing delirium. The service will check if they are known to local memory services and if not arrange a referral. These patients will then be screened every day of their hospital admission until they are discharged to try to prevent them developing delirium but also ensuring quick treatment if they do. In addition the service will provide twice daily social and mental stimulation to those at high risk of delirium, support hospital staff in their management and work closely with families and carers.

For example, someone with Dementia or a high risk of Delirium, which can be caused by infections, dehydration, pain, constipation, sleep deprivation etc being admitted to hospital, would be picked up soon after admission. This would have numerous benefits; checking existing memory service is aware of admission, making sure medications are not changed without discussions, connecting with carers to understand how the person was before hospital admission.  This will help the person return to their usual place of residence, avoid going in to long term care and ensure any additional concerns are considered”.

Anna Munch-Andersen, Elderly Care Consultant at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “It’s important that we take a holistic approach to patient care and increase awareness of delirium, especially for those with dementia who are often more at risk. Sometimes it isn’t possible to identify the specific cause of the delirium, but it is a treatable condition and we’ll be working very closely with the service to ensure our patients receive the best possible care.”

This service was identified as a priority for hospital, community and social care services as part of our integrated North Cumbria Health and Care system. This is the way in which health and care providers and commissioners are working together across Copeland, Allerdale, Carlisle and Eden.

Reach-Out is a dedicated service for Delirium and has several key elements; prevention, effective screening, support, treatment, liaising with other services to support discharge and education.  Health professionals will work with patients at the Cumberland Infirmary and the West Cumberland Hospital who are at risk of developing Delirium. Reach-Out will also provide education and practical support to other hospital staff which aims to improve awareness and recognition of Delirium.