Delirium’s Impact


Delirium is a clinical syndrome characterized by an acute change in mental status or sudden confusion with inattention as the hallmark feature. It is often the first presenting sign of illness in older adults. Delirium is the most common hospital complication in the elderly and is associated with poor patient outcomes, including increased need for institutionalization (e.g. nursing home placement) after hospital discharge and all-cause mortality. Despite its’ high prevalence, delirium often goes undiagnosed and unrecognized in elderly patients.

Her documentary, “Delirium’s Impact”, was inspired by her experience taking care of older hospitalized adults with delirium. It tells the story of Walter, an older adult in the hospital with delirium. Through this glimpse into his hospitalization, we see not only see his struggle with delirium but the stress and toll delirium has on his family and the health care team taking care of him. It is her hope that in putting a “face” to delirium, those who see this documentary will be inspired to learn more about delirium and ways to prevent it. This video is password-protected. The family has indicated that this can be shared as an educational tool. To request access, email Loren Martinez (loren.martinez@duke.edu).

Loren Martinez, MD is a Geriatric Medicine Fellow at Duke University. After fellowship, she will join the Division of Geriatrics at Duke as faculty. Her clinical and educational interests include hazards of hospitalization in older adults and delirium.

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