Prevention and management of delirium in geriatric rehabilitation

Gail M Huber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Delirium is a cognitive disorder commonly seen in older adults. Delirium, an acute confusional state, can be the first sign of illness that brings the older adult to the emergency department. Delirium can also occur during a hospital admission, particularly if the patient has dementia, has undergone surgery, or is admitted to the intensive care unit. In general, delirium is a transient state and the prognosis is good for recovery to preadmission cognitive status. However, patients who develop delirium are at greater risk for reduced function, institutionalization, and increased mortality. For some older adults, the consequences of delirium last for many years. Preventing delirium is the responsibility of all rehabilitation professionals working with older adults. Reducing or eliminating risk factors in conjunction with early identification and treatment can help reduce the number of older adults developing delirium. As there is no pharmacologic treatment for delirium, the rehabilitation team must work together to create an environment whereby the confused patient has the potential to recover.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-156
Number of pages9
JournalTopics in Geriatric Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012


  • hyperactive delirium
  • hypoactive delirium
  • prevention
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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